• WITH Britain in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years, extraordinary efforts are being made by council employees to keep services running. All credit to them. It’s all the more depressing to read Councillor Gary Doolan’s scaremongering and inaccurate complaints about our gritting when it is clear we have been performing better than neighbouring boroughs (Grit shortage: why are we the poor relation? January 8).
Of course, like all boroughs we do not have the resources to adequately grit every road in the short time available when adverse conditions hit, so we have planned priorities. Our first priority was the main roads to ensure that traffic – including buses and emergency vehicles – can travel freely through the borough.
The next level of priority is given to areas around schools, hospitals, bus stops and crossings. After that, residential roads are the focus for snow clearance or gritting. At the same time all our street sweepers have been redeployed to grit paths daily. The 300 yellow on-street grit bins have been kept topped up and residents are welcome to help themselves or spread salt outside their homes to keep pavements ice free.
Between Tuesday and Friday of last week, for example, more than 140 tonnes of grit were spread on Islington’s streets and pavements – often by men with shovels in dreadful weather.
Those who are anxious about the council’s salt and grit supply can take reassurance from the fact we are part of the London Local Authority Co-ordination Centre, managed by London Fire Brigade. This means Islington is part of a mutual aid scheme. If our stocks of grit run low, we can obtain grit from other boroughs which have supplies – and vice versa. These are extremely testing conditions, and I want to recognise the tremendous efforts made by council employees in all services to minimise disruption for residents.
Residents can be further reassured that this harsh weather will not last for ever, and with any more hot air from Cllr Doolan the snow will be melting sooner rather than later.
CLLR GREG FOXSMITH
Lib Dem executive member for environment