Recently released maps show the extent to which Herts County Council has shrunk its snow gritting routes. 'All the primary schools in Handside and Peartree - Applecroft, Our Lady, Holwell and Peartree schools - have come off the 'precautionary' routes, where salting and gritting takes place before frost or snow is forecast' says local LibDem county councillor Malcolm Cowan.
Now they will only be treated after the frost or snow, provided of course that the vehicles can get through.
Roads dropped from the 'precautionary' salting routes include not only Holwell Road, Woodhall Lane and most of Peartree Lane, but also High Oaks Road, at the bottom of which a new zebra crossing is being installed to protect children, Brockswood Lane, Mill Green Road and parts of Guessens Road and Handside Lane. The status of Applecroft Rd is unclear, having been omitted from the map of routes, but Malcolm has been assured its status has not changed.
'The total saving across the whole of the county is predicted to be around £12,000 - what a trifling sum when safety is at stake. The Tories really are scraping the barrel here' he added. 'They claim only 2% of the network has been taken out, yet their own figures show that in my patch, it is 19%'.
'Astonishingly, not only did the county council not consult schools over these changes, they didn't even inform them until we intervened.
The ultimate insult though is that they will supply salt to the schools, presumably in the hope teachers will then spread the salt. I thought teachers were there to teach, not be unpaid highway operatives' Malcolm added.
Concerned residents can sign a petition against these changes at https://SignMe.org.uk/1263