A rural Fife community fears being stranded this winter after the removal of “lifeline” grit bins.
The council moved in on Thursday to take seven or eight bins from the single-track Glassarts Glen road between Auchtermuchty and Newburgh, leaving residents fearing months of misery.
Local man Simon Chapman said the road, home to around 15 houses, was classed as a secondary route and was not served by gritters as a priority.
“During the beast from the east they refused to come along here and the only thing we could do was pay a private contractor to dig us out,” he said.
“We were told it was pretty much self help and that the council would give us the grit but we had to grit the roads ourselves.
“They have now taken that option away from us.
“The road is two and a half miles long and we need the whole thing open and driveable.”
Howe of Fife and Tay Coast councillor Andy Heer predicted winter chaos following the removal of grit bins across the region and said the first hard frost would leave people counting the cost.
The Conservative member said councillors had been told Fife had too many grit bins.
“What they haven’t counted is the cost to the rural economy as villages and businesses are isolated, people are unable to get to work or the shops, not to mention the human misery and the cost to the NHS as people fall and slip on icy roads and pavements.”
Fife Council’s roads and transportation senior manager, Derek Crowe, said a winter service policy review had been carried out.
“As part of this, we assessed the existing supply of grit bins with a view to reducing the number of bins to a more sustainable level given our limited resources,” he said.
“We have started to remove bins from priority gritting routes, from places where there are a lot of bins serving a small area and particularly those where we’ve seen low demand.
“We’ve also consulted with local councillors about particular issues or hotspots in their area and taken their feedback into account.”
Mr Crowe said the council could not afford to service all the grit bins it used to have but added: “If residents think there is a particular case for keeping a bin in a specific location, we are happy to discuss concerns.”