Walsall Council says sorry for road gritting blunder

A council has apologised after overnight road gritting was not carried out and teams took to the roads later than other areas.

The crashed gritting lorry in Shropshire
The crashed gritting lorry in Shropshire

Residents in Walsall were left fuming yesterday when they found gritting had not taken place overnight despite continuing snow showers.

Complaints were made about the fleet going out later than neighbouring authorities.

Walsall Council bosses today said ploughs and gritters would have sent out much earlier yesterday if forecasts had warned of a dawn snowfall. They said late snowfall on Saturday had been predicted as “mostly light” and there had been no prediction of any snow early in the morning.

But engineers said heavy snow flurries caused by the biting easterly wind would not have made it possible to clear roads by plough in any case.

JCB vehicles were due to be sent to Longwood Road, in Aldridge, and Old Hall Lane, in Barr Beacon, today to clear stretches ploughs could not get to.

The authority said gritting teams across the council’s fleet of six vehicles had been working flat out since Friday. In some cases they have been forced to reverse out of roads when residents refused to move cars to allow them to complete their routes.

Councillor Tom Ansell, portfolio holder for transport and the environment, said: “We are admitting that, yes, we could have gone out earlier.

“We understand residents’ frustration and anxiety when they compare Walsall to other areas.

“We do not claim to get it right every time and we are only human.”

Elsewhere, a gritter toppled over in Wentnor Bank in Shropshire, prompting an investigation by council chiefs today. No-one was hurt in the accident.

Comments for: "Walsall Council says sorry for road gritting blunder "

BlueWolf

“We do not claim to get it right every time and we are only human.”

i.e. we thought we could escape the cost of doing all this, but we got found out

Phil Jay

Only six vehicles in a borough this big? How many vehicles have the other councils got?

David Black

I'm sure Brownhills Blob will spring to their defence, eh Bob?

homer

They only gritt bus routes anyway what a load of lies you would expect this from the worst crappy council in the country.

I have lived in walsall for 40 years and it gets no better.

Pete

How is it the general public were aware the time when the snow was going to fall but not highly paid officials at Walsall council weren't ? This is why councils get a bad reputation. On a broader issue why is that local news teams have to go round the council depots when it snows to show us the great mounds of salt and tractors filling up gritting lorries, Then ask the gaffer in his brand new unused hi- vis jacket to tell us how many tonnes of salt they have or going to put down making them out to be some sort of heroes for doing a well paid job for a few weeks a year.Where I used to work there was a night shift on doing 12 hours with no heating on in a steel factory, and there are many other workplaces doing similar. These people just get on with it so YOU SHOULD TOO !

martin

If you need a JCB to clear the snow then grit isn't going to make a great deal of difference is it?

And if you won't move your car for a grit truck to get past then you're hardly in a position to complain, are you?

Anyway, why don't we see this level of fury when the rubbish school results are reported?

kal

1. So how did the roads get cleared in Birmingham and Wolverhampton by gritters?? Did we get different snow in Walsall?

2. The main roads in Walsall were not gritted overnight, can you name any main roads in Walsall that a grit lorry cannot get through even if cars are parked there?? so does this mean they left the main roads and were gritting the side streets where people were refusing to move their

cars?

3. whats wrong with the school results in Walsall?

Anon

I live on one of the main roads is Walsall and I did not see a salt spreading lorry once over the weekend.

Jane Field

Never mind "the experts, don't these people ever look out of their windows? By mid morning yesterday (Sunday) the main roads were running clearly on the whole, so why weren't ploughs and gritters deployed to side roads leading to schools, in order to prevent so many of them having to shut on Monday. Also, having had a whole weekend of appalling weather why was it Monday morning before so many local schools posted closure notices. Surely decisions could have been made by Sunday afternoon in order to allow parents to make arrangements for childcare.

By the way if you should feel the need to email Councillor Ansell to complain-don't bother. I've written to him twice raising other issues and have never had the courtesy of a reply!!!!!

martin

It isn't 'policy' to grit side roads so, no matter what the state of the main roads, the side roads will never be gritted unless there's a change of 'policy'.

Also, it isn't 'policy' to grit roads near schools because schools aren't the council's responsibility, that's down to SERCO (for now) and gods forbid that the council should co-operate with SERCO to keep the schools open to minimise disruption for those of us who have got jobs.

And the only way you'll get through to Tom Ansell is to write to him by old-fashioned letter; like dozens of other Walsall councillors, he doesn't do e-mail, or Facebook, or Twitter, or responsibility, or accountability, or 21st century. Trebles all round to keep the cold out though!

Paul Baxter

I live by the depot in Brownhills and no attempt was made to grit the roads in Walsall. The council leaders should be sacked, sorry just isn't good enough when constantly fail to deliver the simplest of things. What exactly do we pay council tax for again?

Victor

Roads around Willenhall were good on Saturday but what happened Saturday/Sunday when it was really needed?

Also what happened to our bin collections on Friday when we had very little snow cover?? Too cold to collect!

Phyllis

Walsall council did not make our job easy sat and sun ,we have to deliver care to people in the area .,Aldridge was terrible it was a really scary time for all of us on duty this weekend so frustrating

Kal

I work as a taxi driver in Walsall town centre and have done so in last 14 years. I worked over the weekend on Friday and Saturday night till 5.30am on both nights. I did not see a single gritter lorry on the road!!! All the main roads in Walsall were the worst I have ever seen. I saw ambulances and police cars skidding and swerving on the ice in the town centre. Lorries were unable to get up the Broadway North hill causing tailbacks at 3.00am in the morning!!!. I saw a number of accidents at Traffic lights around the bourough where ice had frozen, including our showcase Arbouretum lights. I had fares to Birmingham and Wolverhampton on the same nights and the main roads there had been gritted and were clear of ice and snow!!! SO WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR COUNCIL ?? WHOEVER MADE THE DESCISION ABOUT THE GRITTERS HAS GOT A LOT MORE ANSWERS TO GIVE!!! I WOULNT BE SUPRISED IF ALL THE POOR PEOPLE WHO DAMAGED THEIR CARS SUE THE COUNCIL!! A VERY VERY ANGRY WALSALL RESIDENT.

JT

Yesterday, the main roads was very very bad at 11ish in Walsall and I couldn't believe it as Sandwell cleared their most of their main roads and also side roads. It was especially dangerous for the emergency service

Paul

1) "...gritting teams across the council’s fleet of six vehicles had been had been working flat out since Friday."

Wrong! If the gritters were working flat out the roads would have been in a similar state to those of Sandwell and Wolverhampton i.e. not covered in ice.

2) "In some cases they have been forced to reverse out of roads when residents refused to move cars to allow them to complete their routes."

The A34 is a RED ROUTE! No-one stops on it. The council could have gritted the A34 any time of day -or night they simple didn't bother. (There were other RED ROUTES that didn't get gritted.)

3) “We do not claim to get it right every time and we are only human.”

Tom was it you or Mike Bird on the radio a couple of years back saying 'sorry' for skimping on grit -leaving Walsall roads like an ice rink when Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Sandwell roads had the right amount of grit put down and in a MUCH safer state? Councillors like yourselves should resign and let people who know a thing or two run Walsall PROPERLY!!

skidder

Sorry aint good enough, who made this decision should be named and shamed, everyone knew what the weather was going to be like,blummin disgrace.No doubt they will say lessons have been learnt.