Thu, 22 Mar 2018
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.”