roads may not get gritted this winter due to cuts
key commuter roads in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge are among roads
across Somerset that could become more treacherous if snow and ice
returns this winter due to council cutbacks, it has emerged.
County Council has this week proposed cutting precautionary gritting
routes - where roads are gritted in advance of wintry weather -
from 23 to 16 as part of a bid to save £15million by the year
the changes are approved by the County Council's Cabinet on September
12th, several local roads will be deleted from the programme. These
include Burnham Road, the Causeway through Mark, Watchfield and
East Huntspill, plus Bennett Road in Highbridge.
council has published its proposal to cut routes in a document on
its website ahead of the cabinet meeting in Taunton on September
proposal is one of more than 70 options which the council is considering
in order to generate £15m in savings, of which £13m
must come before the end of the financial year - as Burnham-On-Sea.com
council estimates that it can generate £120,000 in savings
by cutting the gritting routes across the county.
is also proposing to remove all roadside salt supplies over the
winter months to save a further £40,000 - meaning that residents
may not be able to clear public pavements or footpaths if they get
icy or covered with snow.
a risk assessment published this week, the County Council concedes
that the changes could hit rural areas the hardest and also harm
the elderly and vulnerable.
proposals do have a greater impact on rural areas. Rural areas do
have a larger proportion of older residents than urban areas,"
says the council report.
proposals could impact on access to schools and education facilities
for children and young people. The
proposal will make the rural highway network, including foot-ways,
less accessible and more hazardous than previously."
reduced number of gritting routes will mean that less of the network
will be treated in anticipation of frost, ice and snow. It will
thus be less available for use by pregnant and new mothers and their
support team and, if used, more
hazardous to drive on."
are among scores of roads routes that could be cut - including Exmoor
National Park, the Brendon Hills, the Mendip Hills and the Quantock
Hills - which are among the first to bear the brunt of bad weather.
M5 is the responsibility of Highways England, and will not be affected
by the council's decision.
council adds that the changes would be "mitigated by the continuation
of any reactive or emergency works required."