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West Berkshire Council responds to complaints that roads weren't gritted

Commuters anger at 'treacherous' conditions despite Met Office warning

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas


01635 886639

West Berkshire responds over gritters

WEST Berkshire Council has admitted that lessons can be learned after complaints that main routes in the district appeared to not have been gritted after prolonged snowfall on Sunday night.  

Commuters had been warned of potentially hazardous conditions and that proved to be the case as a second wintry snap, dubbed the ‘mini Beast from the East’, caused travel disruption on Monday.

Several motorists contacted the NWN and took to social media to complain that roads had not been gritted on the A4 from Hungerford to Newbury and the A339, in both directions.

However, the council insisted it gritted the roads six times between Friday and Monday.

One Newbury resident described the conditions along Greenham Road and several others as ‘treacherous’ and said it reflected the austerity felt by council cuts.

“This is just another case of us paying more for less,” he said.

“I would defy anyone from the council to say that the major roads in and around Newbury town had been treated properly, despite snow showers having been forecast for Sunday night.

“An abject performance.”

West Berkshire Council said it receives daily weather forecasts from Meteogroup, a private organisation which provides weather information to the BBC.

It added that these forecasts are updated morning, afternoon and evening and are examined alongside temperature graphs from the council’s sensors in the district, which determine how the region’s network is treated each day.

West Berkshire Council spokesman Martin Dunscombe, said: “Gritting teams were out six times between last Friday evening [in advance of the snow] and Monday morning, gritting or clearing all of the district’s A and B roads and many C and unclassified roads.

“In total, the council treated about 3,500km of roads in less than 72 hours over the weekend.”

But questions have been raised over whether more should have been done to ease the predicted travel disruption at the start of the working week.

Mr Dunscombe added: “We know there have been some questions about our performance this weekend.

“What we think might have made a difference this time was that we had to respond to a snowfall that was much greater and over a more intense period than was forecast – and a snowfall that came between treatment runs.

“We’ll be looking at this in detail over the next few days to see what we can learn.

“We know that some people had trying journeys and thank everyone who allowed extra time to travel and were extra careful.”

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Article comments

  • hgv1driver


    22/03/2018 - 20:08

    I hate the words "that lessons can be learned" everytime we here this in West Berkshire and don't get me on potholes i have been reporting for years, they just keep filling the old ones, keep coming back what a waste of money and don't bother trying to claim off WBC like i tried


  • Man In Shorts

    22/03/2018 - 16:04

    I carry out a lot of snow clearance (for Free). I even clear 100 m of the road outside my house. 90% of the problems are down to drivers. if you fit All WEATHER tyres you can drive though most snow. they cosy just a little more but perform brilliantly. cheap hard summer tyre are useless even on the latest Range Rovers. I see the gritters out and then people tell me that they do grit this or that road. I tell them and show them the grit, but they say that the gritter have not been.


  • Pompey


    22/03/2018 - 14:02

    it was very evident that the roads had not been gritted after the 2nd fall of snow on the Sunday night. Along with the on going pot hole problems I wonder where the local councils obligations to health and safety stand.


    • NewburyLad

      22/03/2018 - 16:04

      You checked every single road in West Berkshire then? Nah, thought not.


  • richr

    22/03/2018 - 12:12

    It became clear to me about 10 years ago that the attitude of local authorities to gritting had changed, and it has only deteriorated since then. I bought winter tyres at that point -- it transforms safety in temperatures below about 5 degrees and does allow you to drive on compacted snow. My car on winter tyres performs better on compacted snow that most 4x4s, for about £200. I'd suggest people who need to keep driving whatever the weather do the same, rather than put trust in their safety to the local authority.


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