Red tape hampers winter maintenance efforts

14/07/2011
Highways Reporters

Red tape seriously hampered the efforts of Lincolnshire council's highways department to deal with the last blast of winter weather, according to a damning report.

The severe weather last winter brought much of the county to a standstill and Lincoln's Christmas Market was cancelled.

Highways officials at Lincolnshire County Council now want the Government to ease restrictions on how they operate so they will be better prepared to deal with the effects of another Arctic winter.

They are calling for precautionary salting to be made an emergency activity, which would allow them to relax drivers' hours regulations, making gritting more effective.

The county council also wants the restriction on using 28-tonne vehicles for winter gritting activities lifted.

Officers say this would increase the number of vehicles that would be available from the haulage and construction industry during severe weather that could be fitted with slot-in spreaders.

The authority would then be able to make better use of its 250-strong winter maintenance workforce – which has reduced considerably from the 800 staff in the 1980s.

Principal maintenance engineer at the county council David Davies said: "The two recommendations we made would make a real difference and allow us to operate more effectively in severe weather.

"We were informed about when the Transport Committee's report, Keeping The UK Moving, was published in May, although haven't received a formal response at this time.

"We look forward to seeing what happens as a result of the evidence we submitted ahead of winter starting this year."

 
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