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Salt bins in York ‘could be left unfilled’
PLANS to leave almost half of York’s salt bins empty this winter will have a “significant” impact on residents, according to councillors who are trying to force council bosses into a rethink.
City of York Council will only automatically fill 199 of the city’s 369 bins – which are used to store salt used to clear footpaths in icy weather – following a review of its winter maintenance policy, saying it does not have the money to stock the remaining 170.
These will be left in place so contingency cash can be used to fill them if the weather is severe. Parish councils have met the suggestion they could meet the salt bill themselves – following changes to the ward committee funding system - with reluctance.
Liberal Democrat councillors Keith Aspden, Nigel Ayre and Ann Reid have now called in the plans for further scrutiny, saying the money necessary to stock all 369 bins could be found from elsewhere in the council’s budget.
The issue will be discussed next week at a meeting of the authority’s corporate and scrutiny management committee, which will decide whether to stick with the original decision or refer it back to the cabinet. A report on the call-in said the Lib Dem councillors claimed: “In bad weather, this cut will have a significant and detrimental impact.
“Residents will not know which salt bins are full and which are empty until they need to use them. Leaving the bins out empty is likely to lead to a further deterioration in their condition and make it harder to bring them back into use.”
They also claimed it was “irrational” not to pay for 170 bins to be stocked before a review of their locations, due to be held next year, was completed. In a report on the revised winter maintenance policy, officials said parish councils felt asking them to pay for salt stocks would be “double taxation” and place their “already tight finances” under increased strain.
The council’s ruling Labour group has said money will be available from its highways budget to fill 199 bins, and keeping the other 170 in position meant supplies would be available, paid for through the authority’s contingency budget, if the weather warranted it.
It said a review of salt bin provision after this winter would include a public consultation exercise and would be aimed at developing a “more transparent and logical distribution of bins for those areas which most need them”.