Walsall Council says sorry for road gritting blunder

Walsall | News | Published:

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

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.

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