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True Grit……….Err No Grit!!

January 6, 2010

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=gritting&iid=7454138″ src=”4/f/4/0/Freezing_Temperatures_Continue_142e.jpg?adImageId=8824657&imageId=7454138″ width=”380″ height=”264″ /]

Oban, Scotland – 13 days ago the UK Department of Transport, the Highways Agency and the Local Government Association gave assurances that the UK had stocks of road salt large enough to allow the roads network to remain open during the continuing cold spell.

The road anarchy the UK is currently ‘enjoying’ really does show up the fact that the ‘large enough’ stocks statement was simple PR spin. A country that prides itself on high standards of delivery for emergency services and road safety has descended into chaos following a snowfall considered light by European standards.

Still today the Government has convened ‘Salt Cell’ bringing together The Department for Transport, the Local Government Association, the Highways Agency, the devolved administrations and the Scottish Trunk Road agency – Transport for Scotland.  Not to mention of course the Regional Resilience Teams (RRTs) who are coordinating a twice-weekly audit of salt stocks, held at Local Authority depots, and reporting levels to ‘Salt Cell’. Salt Cell then reallocates stocks to Authorities with little or none left.

On the face of things this seems a pretty good idea, but in good old British ‘if in doubt form a committee’ style it simple means that Authorities who have efficiently organised themselves, with high salt stock levels, have to turn over salt to Authorities who have err ballsed things up. Meaning? We get the M and A road network openish  but the B and C roads, that were receiving attention in a lot of areas, are left snowbound as the salt meant for them has now been moved to another area to err well keep the M and A roads open!!

A similar mess occurred in February 2009 and we were promised changes, can’t say I’ve noticed. No excuses, it’s the worst snow for thirty years etc etc. Someone needs to take responsibility for this farce, people need sacking, money needs spending. It’s reckoned to be costing an economy in recession a loss of £600 million a day. Then there is the human cost no doubt people are dying because of the road chaos.

Oh and our politicians. Posturing on the up coming general election, safe in the knowledge that snow melts and people have short memories. Until the next time that is.

On biking……..

Well done the BMF. Angered that under the Chancellor’s recent pre-budget report, road tax rates for motorcycles are set to increase this year, the British Motorcyclists Federation have set up a petition on the No 10 website asking the Prime Minister to intervene and stop the increases.

The petition can be found here…

© Back Roads Rider 2010

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:06 am

    I understand that in Scandinavian countries they use sand rather than salt which is better in a number of ways – it doesn’t rot through your car or bike, it doesn’t wash away so easily so less is needed and it’s easier to come by (Scarborough council are digging up the beach as I type) and it gets washed back to the beach during the course of the year ready for next winter… Shouldn’t we look into using sand in the future or would this mean we become reliant on the middle East for something other than oil?!

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