Less money spent on grit by council

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DONCASTER Council could stand to save over £50,000 on snow clearing measures this winter - despite boosting grit levels by 1,000 tonnes.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, the authority’s provisional spend on gritting and snow clearing services for 2011-12 is £733,980 - over £56,000 less than what was spent in 2010-11.

That is currently also £400,000 less spent in comparison to the 2009-10 figures when the council shelled out over £1.1 million.

The figures, obtained also reveal that the authority had 7,500 tonnes of grit - 1,000 tonnes more than 2010-11.

The council has also reduced its fleet of gritting vehicles from 16 to 14.

The news comes as the borough experienced the first real chills of winter this week.

Over the past two winters Arctic conditions have paralysed the borough for days at a time costing the economy millions of pounds in lost business with people taking time off work.

A spokesman for the council confirmed that the spending figures were provisional and depended on the weather.

He said: “The council has budgeted for that this year. That could be subject to change but we are confident that it is all we are going to need.”

Drivers are being urged to prepare for the winter on the roads, allowing extra time for journeys and being safe.

The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership has backed a Highways Agency campaign to help motorists cope whilst driving in the freezing conditions.

They are offering tips including checking traffic and weather updates, checking your vehicle and carrying an emergency kit with warm and waterproof clothing.

Jon Torn, station manager for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Drivers and riders need to be aware that there may be black ice or snow on the road and that spray from other vehicles makes it much harder to see what may be happening ahead.”

Elected mayor Peter Davies has also urged people to prepare well for the winter.

The council and other authorities are offering updates via Twitter - search for #sywinter.