Friday, 7 January 2011

Extra Grit Boxes? - 'Blue Box' Grit Scheme

For the past 6 months I have been working towards extra grit boxes, particularly as County Councillor in the area of Baxenden.

The problem with extra grit boxes is that if they are not provided by a uniform, equal method of need, ambulance solicitors file claims for an 'absence of gritting service' with liability on the County Council and the council tax payer. There has to be uniform provision based on fixed, measured criteria.

In reality there are places that require gritting, or are a long way from any grit box. Funding extra 'private' grit bins is not a problem. Placing them on the highways without insurance and permission is.

Following a request I made, County Council have now amended their street furniture licence to allow the placement private grit bins on a public highway pending approval and officers are consulting on aspects of relevant insurance. That will still leave the problem of who pays for the grit to fill them and I am afraid that will have to be the 'big society'.

None the less, one group residents has come forward willing to accept responsibility so long as they can place an extra bin for community use. Hopefully this may prove an answer to issues of clear footpaths.

NB. A recent press release (extra grit bins for Baxenden) by the hopeless District Council Council during the Baxenden by-election was inaccurate. Only one extra grit bin has been placed Baxenden (Southwood Drive) and that request came from myself 12 months ago. No new extra bins have been added.