editor's note:- the following article has been taken from The Nantwich News in its entirety, and the link below will take you to the original article
NON-GRITTED ROAD CAUSED "CATASTROPHIC ACCIDENTS" ON ICY ROADS, COUNCILLORS TOLD
December 16, 2021
Coole Lane accident in icy conditions
Three days of icy, non-gritted roads near Nantwich and Audlem saw "three catastrophic accidents and the school bus cancelled", the former leader of Cheshire East Council said.
Cllr Rachel Bailey (Audlem, Con) told a full council she had not intended speaking on the winter gritting programme and had planned to ask a question about home school transport.
"But the comments on winter gritting are actually more important," she added.
"Particularly as in my ward three days of icy non-gritted Coole Lane saw three catastrophic accidents and the school bus cancelled."
The former Conservative group leader was speaking after current Tory group leader Janet Clowes (Wybunbury) had called for clarification on the council's new 'scoring' system, which had seen several routes across the borough removed from the gritting programme.
"What has become apparent, with just the three days acute winter weather that we've had so far this year, is that it's not working," said Cllr Clowes.
"And my concern is that, for the money saved, I'm afraid it is too high a price for even a single life or a single accident or single injury to a Cheshire East resident."
She added there were anomalies in the scoring system to determine whether roads should be gritted or not.
She said there were single roads that were long and and have been subdivided into little sections and each of those sections scored separately.
"So again, they come forward with a low score but if you add them together, they exceed it," said Cllr Clowes.
"It's these anomalies that need rapid explanation and it needs to be published, together with the consultation report."
Highways committee chair Craig Browne (Alderley Edge, Ind) responded to numerous questions about the winter gritting programme during Wednesday's meeting.
He told the council that Cheshire East's assessment criteria "is entirely consistent with the well managed highway infrastructure code of practice, which is endorsed by the Department for Transport".
He said: "Following the initial review in 2019/20, 345 roads are retained 218 were removed, but 107 new roads that have never been gritted before were added.
"In the 218 that were removed, 113 of those roads actually scored zero, which suggests they should never have been gritted in the first place."
He said a further 43 routes had been added to the gritting programme following a further round of consultation in November last year.
"So actually, when you do the maths and add up the routes that have been added that weren't previously gritted... the net reduction is about 68 roads, which is roughly approximately 3% of the network," said Cllr Browne.