Charity issues safety warning over Norfolk council roads proposal

County Council ENGANL00120131028171152

County Council ENGANL00120131028171152

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Proposals which could see the standard of gritting and maintenance on Norfolk’s roads reviewed or even reduced have been branded a “significant threat to safety” by a charity.

Reports to be considered by Norfolk County Council’s environment, development and transport committee this Friday include a proposal which officials say would save almost £1 million if implemented.

The proposal suggests the council could “Reduce/revise some non-safety critical highway maintenance standards.”

The list includes gritting, grass cutting, work on verges, hedges or trees, road inspections, cutting the amount spent on signs, replacing road markings, drainage erpairs and bridge maintenance.

The document also suggests local communities could be given the chance to but salt from council depots.

But the idea has today been criticised by officials from leading road safety charity Brake.

They said they recognised the financial challenges the county council was facing.

But a spokesman added: “The combination of all these cost cutting measures on local roads, poses a significant threat to road safety.”

However, committee chairman Toby Coke has defended the proposals.

He said: “The council as a whole is facing very tough choices.

“If we are to protect vital services to our most vulnerable residents, we’ve got to find ways of reducing pressure on our day to day spend.

“Keeping our roads maintained to a safe standard is important to everyone, but it may be possible to make significant savings by changing maintenance regimes.”

The council is also planning to use an extra £3 million from its government grant to help fund road maintenance, instead of spending the money from its own revenue.

Mr Coke said: “This will mean fewer major resurfacing and structural schemes, but for most road users the priority is a reliable response to potholes and other urgent problems, and this will continue.”