January 3, 2021 12:10 PM
Originally published by Heather Kidd

Councillors in the West of the County are asking urgent questions of Shropshire Council after it emerged that emergency gritters across the County are being refused permission to grit country roads as has been the case in previous winters..

Heather .said: "Across Shropshire, the Council has retained teams of emergency gritters. They are usually farmers or contractors with vehicles that can carry out gritting of country roads. They are supplied with Council spreading equipment and grit. In previous years they have been a godsend gritting roads away from the main highways.

"It came as a bit of a shock therefore when I was told that several have been refused permission to take their vehicles out and if they did they wouldn't be covered by Council insurance. The cost was quoted as the reason."

"This would explain why gritting has been poor on our minor roads this winter. With more snow promised I am asking urgent questions of the Council about their gritting resources and how they are using them.

Ruth Houghton, Councillor for Bishop's Castle Division, added: "Over the Christmas and New Year break we have experienced snow and ice here in South Shropshire which has become a problem for many small settlements due to lack of gritting other than on main roads. Residents and Council members are also having great difficulty contacting anyone at the Council

" For example, I tried to report the need for more gritting generally and gritting in specific areas on the Councillors reporting Portal. There is no option to do this.

"I also tried to report additional grit required in a dump or a salt bin on a local road, the portal message stated that there was no salt bin in that location so I was unable to proceed.

" Lastly, I tried to request a new salt bin on a new 24 property housing development in Bishop's Castle, I was unable to do so due to the following automated message:

"There are approximately 1,000 salt bins in the county and they've been placed in strategic positions. At this time we will not be adding any more. If you wish to discuss this with us please call our customer services team on 0345 6789006."

Yet again rural residents are receiving a poor service which in this case has meant that some local residents in locations away from a main road have been cut off for days.

STOP PRESS: Both Councillors are also receiving complaints that existing grit bins have not been filled last autumn.