Council gritting policy “unfit for purpose” in COVID crisis say Lib Dems

Edinburgh Council’s gritting policy is unfit for purpose and risks increasing pressure on the NHS whilst it deals with the COVID crisis, Liberal Democrat councillors have warned.

Edinburgh Council’s winter resilience policy means only a limited number of key roads and pavements were gritted during the recent winter weather. This includes bus routes and roads to fire stations, hospitals and schools.

This left the vast majority of residential areas left covered in snow and ice.

Whilst some salt bins are provided, many people have been been reporting them as empty, even days after lodging online requests to the Council for refills.

With further icy conditions expected this month, there is now concern more areas will be left in a dangerous state. Injuries from slips and falls could place huge strain on the NHS at a time when it is already facing the COVID crisis.

Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson, Cllr Kevin Lang said,

“The current COVID crisis has shown the Council’s gritting policy is simply not fit for purpose.

“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. However, because so few areas are being gritted, there is a real risk of more people falling and needing treatment.

“It is obviously 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”.

Image: Ferry Road (left) by S. Dijkstra-Downie and Crewe Road South (right) by H. Osler.

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