Where have all the grit bins gone in Uttlesford?

PUBLISHED: 08:54 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 22:07 31 May 2010

BRITISH determination is still there, but where is the grit? That is what Uttlesford residents are asking after seeing yellow grit boxes disappear from nearby roads. Following the recent arctic conditions many streets and especially pavements are still la

BRITISH determination is still there, but where is the grit? That is what Uttlesford residents are asking after seeing yellow grit boxes disappear from nearby roads.

Following the recent arctic conditions many streets and especially pavements are still laced with ice, causing hazardous conditions for pedestrians and drivers.

But things could be made easier if the public had access to grit boxes, according to local councillors.

District councillor Catherine Dean said parish councils are interested in re-installing the boxes but not at the prices set by Essex County Council which governs the service.

She said: "They took the boxes away for health and safety reasons in the first place and are now charging £300 to get them returned.

"To me, that seems to be a bit steep. There should be a reduction on the price so parish councils can actually afford to replace them."

Essex's assistant area highway manager, Peter Massey, provided some hope. Speaking at South Uttlesford Community Forum on Tuesday, he said that although no plans were currently in place to reduce the price, he would take Cllr Dean's request and discuss it with highways chiefs.

Road gritting staff did receive praise though. Stansted councillor Alan Dean paid tribute to their efforts, saying "it was much better than last year because gritters sprang into action quicker".

He did call for more communication between councils however, and poured scorn on the debate surrounding liability if an accident happened on a publicly-gritted area.

"There is still better scope for more coordination," he said. "There is also a case for localising gritting and not chasing each other around to get areas done. The public could be involved in this so more grit bins should be provided.

"As long as people are not pouring cold water on the roads they are surely acting in the best interests of safety - it is all common sense."

Concerns are rising over the increasing number of potholes, caused by a mixture of the abrasive grit and constant freezing and thawing.

Mr Massey said: "Snow is good for the kids, but bad for us. Inspections to find potholes will be done and repairs carried out. But we have to work within our own limited resources - we are aware that many areas will need looking at."

- Meanwhile Uttlesford District Council announced it is set to review its gritting policy. Chief executive John Mitchell described it as "not satisfactory" and added that the council will be looking at ways to keep all council car parks completely clear of ice, instead of just around ticket machines and disabled bays.

WHAT do you think? If gritting boxes were around, would you use them? Let us know by e-mailing editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk

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