Gritting decisions should be made locally

I have been hearing from many of my constituents on Islay in regards to the gritting of our local roads.

There is no doubt in my mind that our front-line roads workers are hard working and have the same concerns about ice on our roads as everyone else, that said they can only do as they are ordered by our council's central management.

I have received very worrying reports from numerous fellow Ileach's that school buses and cars across many parts of Islay have struggled to stay on the roads leaving many pupils scared by the time they reached school.

Our council has recently failed to grit the roads around Loch Gorm, Gruinart, the Oa, Ardbeg and Artalla early enough, this is despite school buses and cars on these routes each day before 8am.

Our Island's diligent and professional school bus and car drivers start driving at 7:15am every morning so if the gritters don’t start until 7:00am our road's department just can’t cover the roads before traffic is on them.

On many occasions over the last couple of weeks I have received complaints that the roads have not been gritted at all despite locals being told otherwise be call handlers on the mainland.

I have personally seen gritters out in temperatures of 10 degrees in the rain. My constituents are justifiably demanding that in the future these decisions should be made locally. It is essential that we allow our front-line roads workers on the Island to use their own initiative and common sense.

Unsafe icy roads are as unacceptable in my council ward as they are in the more populated parts of Argyll. Our council must do all that it can to see that the more rural and isolated parts of Argyll are not provided with a substandard service.

Cllr Alastair Redman