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Tories accused of putting the skids on gritting this coming winter

A Lancashire County Council gritter
A Lancashire County Council gritter
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The Labour group on Lancashire County Council has accused the ruling Tory party of putting the skids on gritting this coming winter.

Lancashire County Council has decided to lower the road surface temperature intervention level from +1.0C to +0.5C – a move which Labour say will cut the gritting treatments on the highway network this winter.

The county council is hoping to save £110,000 per year by reducing the number of network gritting treatments during the winter period to primary and secondary routes.

Cutting the intervention is predicted to reduce the number of gritting treatments by 894 across Lancashire. This figure is based on the intervention levels of +1.0C over the past two winters.

Inaccurate forecasting, which is a possibility, could result in a lack of action by the council.

If the intervention level was lowered to +0.5C, then routes that would have been gritted, will not be gritted with a possibility that hazards may have formed on that segment of the route, increasing the risk to the travelling public on this untreated segment of the network.

County Coun. Erica Lewis, Labour Highways and Transport, said: “After what has been described as one of the worst winter on record, the Conservative administration’s response is to cut winter gritting.”

“The people of Lancashire have already had to put up with the worst pothole repair responses, cuts to white lines, road signs and street lighting.

“All of which adds to pedestrians and road users’ risk. The gritting service is also vital, for hospitals, schools, support getting to vulnerable people at home and Lancashire people getting to work.

“All this risk so the Conservatives can cut £110,000 off their budget. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

“People in Lancashire are being asked to pay a heavy price in more than money to prop up this chaotic Conservative-run council who underspent on the highways budget by £5m. last year.”

Highways England, which manages and maintains the motorway and trunk road network in England, currently has an intervention level of +1.0C but is currently considering a proposal to change this.