Gritting cuts protest mounts

At the height of summer, protests are being stepped up over plans to reduce the number of Sheffield roads gritted in the winter.

A petition - online and on paper - organised by opposition Liberal Democrats so far has more than 1,000 names. Meanwhile, a ‘Keep Bradfield Gritted’ campaign has been launched, and protest stickers have appeared on grit bins.

Consultations are being held over a council review that includes the proposed relocation or removal of 400 grit bins, as well as the halting the recruitment of volunteer snow wardens. The authority is aiming to save £100,000 a year in response to Government funding cuts.

Critics fear more accidents if the number of priority two roads that are gritted is reduced from 720 to 610.

Hallam MP Nick Clegg accepted that “difficult choices have to be made”, but said: “Once again it is proposed that West Sheffield receives the greatest reductions in service by far – despite being one of the areas that relies on a winter maintenance service the most.”

Not treating Hagg Hill near Crosspool or Hangingwater Road and Highcliffe Road in the Nether Green and Greystones areas “will lead to major safety issues”. Some rural communities “could be virtually cut off all together”. Lib Dems say money saved from council staff strikes could be used to reverse cuts.

The council says 50% of all Sheffield roads will still be gritted, and priority two roads that are heavily used, on bus routes or near public facilities, will be treated.