Edinburgh roads ‘left ungritted’

Many surburban areas of Edinburgh were left untreated during the recent cold snap
Many surburban areas of Edinburgh were left untreated during the recent cold snap
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LARGE swathes of the city received no gritting during the recent spell of snow, opposition councillors have claimed.

They say the council failed to treat icy roads and pavements in many suburban areas of the Capital and left grit bins empty.

Now they are demanding a review of the system for prioritising the roads to be gritted and how it can be improved to include other areas.

Tory transport spokesman Nick Cook said: “Despite a relatively short spell of snow and ice so far this winter, the council’s gritting efforts have been left well and truly exposed.

“Council staff ably serviced the routes the council itself deems to be a ‘priority’ but in reality the current prioritising scheme left huge swathes of suburban Edinburgh with little or no gritting treatment whatsoever.

“In addition, many suburban grit bins were left empty or not refilled in a timely manner, creating real hazard for many people, particularly the elderly, disabled and active travellers.”

He said areas like the Braids, Comiston Drive and other parts of South Morningside in his own ward were among those not to be gritted and even pavements in Dundas Street in the city centre went untreated.

“The council has a duty to keep our city moving in all weathers which is why Conservative councillors are calling for a wholesale review of the suitability and responsiveness of the council’s gritting system.”

He has tabled a motion for tomorrow’s full council meeting calling for a review.

And Liberal Democrat Kevin Lang said major changes needed to be made to the system before next winter.

He said: “This is another example of the administration failing to deliver on basic services. The colder weather over recent months created treacherous conditions in many parts of the city and the response from the council was wholly inadequate.

“Officials admitted the online gritting map is completely out of date. Grit bins have been left empty, days even weeks after being reported.

“Requests for new grit bins appear to go into a big black hole and school bus routes 
were left ungritted, forcing pupils to miss school. It is vital that lessons are learned and 
big changes made for next winter.”

A council spokeswoman said gritting teams were on hand 24/7 to respond to poor conditions on the city’s roads, cycle paths and pavements.

“We operate a priority gritting system, treating priority one routes first, which include principal roads, bus routes and roads and pavements leading to hospitals, fire stations care homes, to keep the city moving. We need to be responsive to unpredictable weather patterns and during the recent period of colder weather teams were required to continuously monitor and treat priority one routes, due to consistent freezing temperatures.

“While we regularly refill grit bins, the cold snap also meant some bins were emptied quicker than expected.”