Cuts to winter gritting in Cambridgeshire will leave many villages ‘cut off’ warns Lib Dem councillor Lorna Dupre

Cllr Lorna Dupré with local gritting lorries

Cllr Lorna Dupré with local gritting lorries - Credit: Archant

Cuts to winter gritting could leave many Cambridgeshire villages “totally cut off” a Lib Dem councillor warned today.

Cllr Lorna Dupre of Sutton near Ely said: “Savage cuts to winter gritting routes could leave villagers stranded and many roads unsafe in snow or icy weather.”

She said new, reduced gritting routes have just been published that show only 30 per cent of the county’s roads will be gritted compared to 44 per cent last year.

She said the county council was paying the price for a decision voted through in February by Conservative county councillors with the help of Independents and UKIP.

“This means a cut of one-third in the gritting service,” she said. “Thirty sixty gritting lorries have been reduced to 26, with an additional one dedicated to the guided busway.

“Villages left without gritting will include Mepal, Witcham, and Wardy Hill, along with the road from Little Downham to Pymoor via California and Pymoor Lane, and Church Lane and the eastern half of the high street in Sutton.”

Cllr Dupre said: “The effect of these savage cuts will fall heavily on rural areas such as Sutton and the Downham villages.

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“Much of this could have been avoided if Conservatives on the county council had been prepared to raise council tax by the 2 per cent the government allowed and indeed expected.

“By refusing to raise an extra £2 a month at Band D from local households, Conservative councillors have let residents in for a winter of misery and a real risk of more serious injuries on our already dangerous roads.

“Many residents are saying they would have been prepared to pay £2 a month to ensure that significant roads in and out of their villages continued to be gritted.”

Cllr Dupre said that across the county, school bus routes including to Impington and Bottisham village colleges, and accident blackspots such as Branch Bank in Littleport, have not been included in the new gritting routes, as there is not enough money left after the cuts to do so.

“For the second year running, East Cambridgeshire is already performing significantly worse than the average for England in terms of death and serious injury on local roads,” she said.