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City of York Council’s pledge on emergency gritting
9:51am Wednesday 8th February 2012 in Snow in York and North Yorkshire
COUNCIL chiefs have promised a “contingency fund” will ensure York’s roads are gritted in emergencies despite proposed highways budget cuts.
Plans for the next two years, which will be discussed by City of York Council’s cabinet next week, include a £500,000 reduction in the authority’s highways budget, with a drop in the number of roads routinely gritted and 16 full-time posts axed.
The ruling Labour group said the contingency fund would ensure routes were still gritted in extreme weather. Council leader James Alexander said: “There is currently no contingency available and, in future, I think it is prudent to create that, which is why we have included up to £250,000 in our budget proposals in case it is needed.”
But Coun Ann Reid, deputy leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group, claimed the contingency fund was a “red herring”.
She said: “They are cutting £10,000 from the gritting budget with no idea where they are taking it from.”
Meanwhile, Coun Alexander has congratulated gritting and snow clearance teams who have been out in force in recent days, saying: “Staff are working flat out to ensure York keeps moving and they deserve a lot of praise.”
• In yesterday’s edition of The Press, we published a picture of Coun Alexander next to a gritting machine which our caption said had been damaged by a snowball.
We are happy to clarify that this vehicle was not damaged and the picture was taken during Coun Alexander’s visit to York’s gritting HQ.