Grit budget under threat

changes could be made to the Derbyshire County Council’s winter road maintenance programme as a result of central government cuts.

The Tory led council is proposing a cut of £1m to the budget for gritting roads and reducing the amount of lorries and snow ploughs that will take to the road when the cold weather comes.

Last month we revealed how council bosses were offering pay local farmers to help keep the county’s roads clear of snow this winter.

But the county’s Labour group are concerned about the latest cuts and urged people to have their say in a public consultation currently underway.

Councillors are particularly concerned after the last two winters were some of the coldest on record.

Labour Group leader Anne Western said: “This really is an astonishing decision. Last year thousands of Derbyshire residents were stranded due to the authority’s inability to keep our roads open and moving, unlike neighbouring councils in Sheffield, Rotherham and Nottinghamshire.

“Many elderly people were unable to get to the shops to get basic food stuff, schools and hospitals were badly hit and residents were unable to get to work.

Last year saw Erewash run out of grit just two weeks after Christmas and Cllr Western added: ‘We understand that Derbyshire County Council has to make savings, but this is a massive cut to a very important service which will have a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable people in Derbyshire.”

An online petition to protest against the cuts has been set up at www.derbyshire.gov.uk where you can also find details of the scheme to rope farmers into helping with snow clearing.