POLITICAL rivals have clashed over how York’s salt bins were restocked amid freezing temperatures and snow warnings.
On Wednesday, City of York Council filled 170 bins which it now does not automatically stock, saying it wanted to ensure residents’ safety, but the Liberal Democrat group has accused the Labour-run authority of not acting quickly enough.
The group said its request for the bins to be filled on Monday was refused and this caused an “avoidable delay” in dealing with “increasingly treacherous” conditions. Labour said it took the necessary action, branding the Lib Dems “petty”.
Last year, the council said funding cuts meant only 199 of York’s 369 salt bins would be automatically filled, but the remaining 170 would be stocked in severe weather.
Coun Nigel Ayre, Lib Dem councillor for Heworth Without, said: “I was shocked that when I asked council officers to refill salt bins in my ward on Monday, they refused, saying that despite snow, ice and plummeting temperatures, the weather was not severe enough.
“I am glad, after continued pressure, they have seen sense, but am concerned vital hours and days have been lost, during which time residents could have been taking pre-emptive action. Labour should have inspected and refilled the bins before winter or, over the weekend, watched the forecast and decided the council needed to act.”
Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “We made a commitment to fill these 170 salt bins if it became necessary, and when it became clear temperatures well below zero and further snow were forecast for a number of days ahead, we did exactly this.
“Our focus is on keeping roads, footpaths and cycle paths safe for residents, rather than wasting time on petty attempts at political point-scoring.”