The Courier

Motion calling for U-turn on village pavement gritting

Mr Salmond will lodge the motion in Forfar on Thursday.

Angus Council will be urged to perform a u-turn on a money-saving move to cut pavement gritting in its rural villages.

The authority’s newly-appointed convener of communities Mark Salmond will lodge a motion on Thursday to review February’s budget decision after describing it as a “cut too far”.

© DC Thomson
Mark Salmond.

Councillors approved halving the district’s mini-gritter fleet and plans are now coming forward which mean, this winter, there will be no footway gritters for villages such as Letham, Friockheim, Wellbank, Ferryden, Hillside or the Sidlaw communities.

A plan to deal with the reduction includes recruitment of local volunteers, who will be given a stock of salt and training to keep footpaths ice-free.

Mr Salmond said: “The removal of pavement gritting in our Angus villages was agreed by all councillors back in the February budget.

“As the new convener I am concerned at the consequences of this service removal.

“On reflection, this was maybe a cut too far which could have a detrimental effect on our rural communities.”

Mr Salmond said the decision in February had created a new council policy which officers must introduce, as things stand.

He said: “The only way to change the policy is to bring a motion to council to create a new, updated policy which would re-introduce pavement gritting in our villages in time for this winter.

“My motion to full council will give all 28 councillors time to reflect on their previous decision and I am hopeful that a unanimous decision will be achieved to support Angus’s rural communities.”

Mr Salmond said he has also taken the opportunity in the motion to ensure Angus communities are fully consulted before any future changes to winter maintenance policy are made.

“Our villages are mini towns – some with schools, sheltered housing, doctors surgeries and shops,” he said.

“It is only equitable that priority pavement gritting is provided to these village locations as it would be in our larger Angus towns.”

The motion stipulates the re-introduction is cost neutral, meaning savings must be made elsewhere in the winter maintenance budget to support Angus villages.

Mr Salmond concluded: “£2.6m is spent by Angus on gritting our roads and pavements.

“Finding the £50,000 for our rural community may mean a small reduction in our towns but it is important this council has an equitable policy on priority pavement gritting, over all of Angus.”