Changes to Northamptonshire County Council’s winter gritting service will help the authority to make savings in the current financial year.
The amendments include reducing the amount of the highways network which receives ‘precautionary’ gritting and reviewing the provision of road-side grit bins for public use.
Another proposal is to reconsider the current three-hour timescale in which to complete each gritting run.
Overall, if approved, the changes would make the county council £475,000 of savings.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said:
“Given the financial challenges faced and a very difficult budget position, further tough decisions are needed in order to deliver a balanced budget.
“Before 2008, we gritted about 34 per cent of the network and in 2008, this was increased to 45 per cent.
“These proposals would bring gritting levels in line with those of before 2008 and in these difficult financial times we have to consider this very seriously.”
The proposals before Cabinet would see the precautionary, priority one, network of roads reduced from 1,954km to 1,543km, or from 45 per cent to 34 per cent.
All of the routes removed from the priority one network would be added to what is known as the priority two network – the roads which are only treated in extreme adverse weather.
The time taken to complete each gritting run would also be increased from three hours to three-and-a-half hours, which means that 19 vehicles could cover the network as opposed to the current number of 26.
Additionally all of the current 1,973 road-side grit bins in the county have been re-assessed according to new scoring criteria and 500 do not match the revised measures of suitability. As such, these bins will be offered to the local community to maintain and replenish or otherwise removed.