THE Government’s handling of the recent weather crisis has been criticised by Meriden MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Department of Communities and Local Government, Caroline Spelman.
She said: “Despite plenty of advance warning from the Local Government Association, Gordon Brown’s Government was slow to react to the worst weather crisis in decades. We have seen shortages of salt and grit. Councils have been asked not to refill grit bins and only to treat major roads.
“We have also had confusion over whether to clear ungritted pavements and driveways. In the past, people did this to make it easier for pedestrians: now they are afraid to in case of being sued for any injuries people might suffer in a fall. The result is slushy and slippy pavements outside shops and even outside some doctors’ surgeries. Lord Adonis admitted that people could be sued but said the courts would be “generous” in their dealings.”
Ms Spelman added: “Potholes are another big problem. The Local Government Association says that councils are working flat out to keep drivers safe by fixing the holes as quickly as possible. Overall, councils spent an extra £10.9 million filling potholes in 2009. Across the country, the shortfall in funding for road maintenance was already estimated at £8.5bn. With more snow forecast and more damage expected, the government needs to give careful guidance to councils and to members of the public so they can be clear about what they can do to keep roads and paths safe.”