Further Sheffield gritting cuts ‘can’t be ruled out’

p15''Gritters battling to keep the roads clear of snow
p15''Gritters battling to keep the roads clear of snow

Yet more cuts to gritting services could be made, it has been revealed, after revised plans were agreed to reduce the number of roads treated.

A last stand against proposals to reduce by 94 miles the number of roads gritted, to save £100,000, was made at a Sheffield Council meeting.

Original plans were revised after thousands of people took part in a consultation. Roads on school bus routes, those with a gradient of 10 per cent or more, and those creating a ‘western access route’ were all reinstated on the gritting wagons’ circuits.

But the cabinet highways meeting heard there was ‘no guarantee’ that will be the end of the cuts.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, said afterwards: “We don’t know if there will be more changes but it cannot be ruled out. We can’t rule out reductions to any service.

“It is positive we now have very clear criteria we can use, so if we build a new housing estate or school we can respond to that.

“Nobody wants to make these reductions at all - it’s just another example of how Sheffield and other northern councils are being much harder hit.”

Stannington resident Dennis Frost, who ran a one-man campaign against the plans, told councillors: “The first fatality, the first serious injury this winter, and this will fall like a tower of cards and I don’t want to see that.”

On the removal or relocation of 400 grit bins, Mr Frost added: “That’s akin to sending the soldier into war without weapons and taking all the dressings away.”

Student Harry Matthews presented a 1,500-strong petition and said the council was ‘betting on the weather’ - while the west of Sheffield would have to ‘fend for itself’.

But the meeting heard Sheffield has three times as many grit bins as any other city, and there was no ‘rhyme nor reason’ to explain which roads were chosen to be gritted before this review.

Main roads will not be affected and 51 per cent will still be gritted. The snow warden scheme will continue, but with no new recruits.