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New fears over the gritting of Norwich's roads

PUBLISHED: 11:00 16 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:30 02 July 2010

If extreme winter conditions hit the Norwich again it could see more roads go ungritted.

If extreme winter conditions hit the Norwich again it could see more roads go ungritted.

Kim Briscoe

An extra 42 miles of Norwich's roads will not be gritted if extreme winter conditions hit the city again before the government lifts its salt restrictions.

An extra 42 miles of Norwich's roads will not be gritted if extreme winter conditions hit the city again before the government lifts its salt restrictions.

Currently 104 miles of roads in Norwich are treated when severe winter weather hits, but with the government telling councils to cut the amount of salt they use by 50pc this would be axed to just 62 miles of top priority routes.

These would include all A roads and most B roads, but smaller roads and roads into estates would not be treated, making them difficult for motorists to use.

Recent snowfall delayed bin collections and bus routes had to be redirected to avoid untreated and unsafe roads in the city.

Further snow would inevitably affect services again, but with more roads untreated the disruption would be expected to be even more widespread.

Norwich City Council teamed up with Norfolk County Council to prepare plans for treating a reduced network of top priority roads.

Yesterday's Evening News reported how the county council feared it would have to reduce the gritting of the 1,900 miles of roads it is responsible for more almost half.

The city council said its measures to cut consumption have included reducing the number of salting runs, cutting back the spreading rate of salt, and switching to sand for restocking grit bins.

Brian Morrey, Norwich City Council's executive member for sustainable city development, said: “At the moment we are still salting the same network of city roads, but if we have a return of the extreme temperatures and snow of last week we will need to use more salt - which will mean cutting down the number of roads treated to stay within the government's 50pc reduction target.

“So we have planned which top priority roads, including access to vital services such as hospitals, will still be covered if we have to cut back to a reduced network.”

Should weather conditions force the city council to restrict treatment to the new top priority network, the public will be informed as soon as possible through the local media.

No snow is expected this weekend and temperatures look set to be warmer next week, but forecasters are warning the winter is not yet over.

John Laws, forecaster at WeatherQuest at the University of East Anglia, said: “It won't be very pleasant today, it will be wintry and wet with more rain than anything else.

“It will be about three or four degrees, but not feeling that warm because of the wind.

“It will be better on Sunday as the rain clears away and the winds will ease.

“At the moment it looks like there will be better temperatures through next week. However, we have still got February so don't rule out winter just yet.”

The Met Office's long-term forecast is predicting a chance of sleet or snow showers affecting eastern counties during the last week of January, with temperatures generally cold at first and likely to stay cold in the east.

What you do you think about the gritting restrictions being placed on councils? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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