Edinburgh's gritting policy 'unfit for purpose' claim Lib Dems

Edinburgh City Council’s gritting policy is “unfit for purpose” and risks increasing pressure on the NHS in the midst of the Covid crisis, Liberal Democrat councillors have claimed.

Monday, 4th January 2021, 4:45 pm

They said the authority’s winter resilience strategy meant only a limited number of key roads and pavements were gritted during the recent winter weather, leaving the "vast majority” of residential areas covered in snow and ice.

And they said many salt bins were left empty despite requests for them to be refilled.

Lib Dem transport spokeman Kevin Lang said: “The current Covid crisis has shown the council’s gritting policy is simply not fit for purpose.

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“The advice for the last nine months has been for people to exercise locally. Vast amounts of money have been spent in the name of creating safer spaces for people to move about. Yet over the last two weeks, we have seen many areas left covered in frozen black ice with no gritting. Worse still, local salt bins are lying empty, even after residents have requested refills.

“People need to be able to get out for a walk, run or cycle safely. However, the last thing our hard pressed NHS needs at this time of crisis are patients with injuries because of slips on icy pavements. But because so few areas are being gritted there is a real risk of more people falling and needing treatment.”

He said it was not realistic for every road or pavement to be gritted. “However, given the current Covid situation and the need for people to be able to get about safely, the priority routes for this winter must be expanded, particularly pavements and footways. With more wintry weather expected, we need that review carried out and completed as a matter of urgency”.

The council has said its gritting teams work 24/7 to respond to poor conditions on the city’s roads, cycle paths and pavements. A priority gritting system means principal roads, bus routes and roads and pavements leading to hospitals, fire stations care homes are treated first. A spokeswoman said icy and snowy conditions were putting extra pressure on services.

Lib Dems says most residential areas have been left ungritted

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