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Roads set to be cut from York's priority gritting map
ALMOST 30 miles of road is set to be taken off York’s priority gritting list this winter.
Routes across the city will be removed from City of York Council’s “primary” gritting network - covering wet surfaces treated when temperatures fall below zero - as the authority aims to cut its winter maintenance budget by £60,000.
This reduction will only come into the Labour council’s 2014/15 budget, but it said introducing the changes this winter will help them bed in and allow more time to find more savings or income, possibly through providing extra gritting services for private companies and charging for it. Options for the winter maintenance programme will next week go before Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services.
The preferred choice is to reduce the current 227-mile primary gritting route by 28.75 miles, with roads taken off this list being classed as “secondary” routes to be treated in severe winter weather.
If approved, the new primary network will include roads with bus services at intervals of up to half-an-hour in one direction and which are used by school buses, and the council would increase the number of salt bins it provides from 145 to 150 but cut one gritting round to save £20,000.
Another option would mean almost 49 miles of roads no longer being primary routes, 13 extra salt bins being provided and two gritting rounds removed to save £40,000, with the third option leaving the network as it is at a cost of £38,800.
The council said any changes will not mean full-time job losses, but overtime and “standby” staffing costs could be cut, while it hopes to recruit more volunteer snow wardens. Any extra gritting costs caused by severe winter weather will mean the council has to make savings elsewhere.
Documents published on the council's website have not included a specific list of which roads or stretches of roads will be removed from the primary gritting network.
Coun Levene said public consultation responses had led to more bus routes being included in the gritting network proposals, saying: “This review will enable us to make savings made necessary by reduced funding while, for the first time since 1996, drawing up a clear, fair, transparent policy on salt bin placement and our grit network which puts residents’ safety at its core.”
Conservative leader Coun Ian Gillies said: “Gritting roads is a fundamental service, but Labour would rather spend money on an arts barge and 20mph areas than ensure roads and pavements are safe for all.”
Liberal Democrat leader Coun Keith Aspden said it would be “yet another cut to basic street-level services” just after the council had agreed to spend £500,000 on a transformation programme.
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