At Powys County Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday , October 8, cabinetmembers passed the first phase of the authority’s Winter Service Review.
The report, which focused on maintaining the county’s roads during the coming colder months, said the council isdiscussed the service programme for roads in the county for the 2019/20 winter which will be moving away from the standard set by the Welsh Government’s trunk road maintenance manual.
Council highways staff will now adopt their own method of evaluating how much salt to use, depending on temperature and weather conditions.
The report added that re-treating trunk roads – which the council does on behalf of the Welsh Government’s North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency – will continue, but smaller roads will not get a second salt treatment. This move could save PCC £43,000.
At the meeting Councillor James Evans, economic development, housing and regulatory services portfolio holder, asked: “What engagement is the service going to have with elected members, town and community councils and people who are going to be affected as the routes they live on are not going to be gritted any more?
“We have to be very careful as some of those residents expect that level of service now, and we need to manage that going forward as we don’t want adverse publicity for the council around this.”
He said he felt “proactive engagement is key” when managing the issue.
Corporate director for economy and planning, Nigel Brinn, said: “Absolutely there needs to be some discussion.”
Head of highways Adrian Jarvis added: “What is being proposed is a pretty robust review of the road hierarchy and will provide substantial evidence. People are used to what we treat, so communication is vital if they are to understand the changes.”
Councillor Myfanwy Alexander, who is now in charge of the Adult Services portfolio, (Independent – Banwy) welcomed the changes to re-treatment of the county roads as an “environmental plus”.
She said she believed they would mean there would be less salt to damage the hedgerows, plants and wildlife which she described as a “one of the glories of Montgomeryshire and Powys”.
Powys has 5,500 kilometres of road, the second biggest road network in the whole of the UK.
This is made up of 431km of trunk roads, 238km of County (category A) roads, 2,706km of B and C and 2,126km of minor surface roads.
If these are all put together it would stretch to Beijing – the capital city of China.