Local roads may not be gritted in winter as part of Lancashire County Council’s wide-ranging plan to implement £84 million of spending cuts. This is one proposal to be considered by Lancashire’s Conservative cabinet next week when Cabinet members will be asked to approve 32 different day-to-day savings measures to ease a projected budget shortfall of £87m.
The Labour opposition group has warned these cuts signal another period of austerity.
If the gritting changes get the green light, the 45 primary routes that are currently treated would be cut to 41, based on a risk-based review of the gritting network, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. However, the roads that will no longer be gritted under the proposal cannot be identified until the planned review has taken place.
County Councillor Alan Vincent (pictured below) said that Lancashire’s highways managers were content the authority could still safely grit the roads that need doing by changing the routes around a little bit. He explained, ‘There’s always some risk attached to it, but they’ve basically said to us that they think these are the roads that we absolutely need to do the winter gritting on. You could extend it and grit every road in Lancashire – but we couldn’t possibly either do [that] or have the cash to do it. So we’re going to have to do the best we can with the resources that we have available.’
Other cost cutting proposals include a reduction in grass cutting, affecting verges alongside rural and high-speed roads. This would see the current four cuts per year trimmed back to three. The result would be to make the first mow of the season later than it has traditionally been. Councillor Vincent said that the change would help to green the environment by preventing wildflowers being cut back too early and so giving biodiversity a boost.
The Council also wants to cut spending on the most expensive children’s home placements. This could include the Lancashire County Council building a new home of its own.
Conservative County Councillor Alan Vincent pictured below.