This time last year I wrote about snow! Despite last year’s snow being predicted – the snow when it came brought everything to a disastrous halt – and I was inundated with people asking me to contact Haringey Council about why they hadn’t gritted local peoples’ particular road or pavement.
Haringey Council said that they had ‘agreed priority’ routes which are cleared first and that their contractor supplies them with schedules of which roads have been gritted. So I decided to check the facts on the ground by asking local residents to help me..
I emailed my email list to ask local people to let me know whether their road (whether main or side) had been gritted at all. Over two hundred people emailed me back. So having gathered a pretty comprehensive picture of which roads were done when – I submitted it to Haringey so that they could check whether their contractor had delivered the service that we are all paying for!
The results showed that last year many priority roads (those roads designated to be treated first) were untouched; even where the road surface was done, the pavements of many priority roads were untouched; the side roads were frequently impassable and the majority of the grit bins checked by local councillors Gail Engert and Martin Newton were empty.
So last year – local residents enabled me to give Haringey Council first hand information from eyes and ears across the borough as to whether the schedules that were submitted by their contractors were accurate.
This year we had an early taste before Christmas – of how seriously affected we can be by a fall of snow which remains uncleared for days – and turns to sheet ice. It is very, very important that we get the service we are paying for. Many older people (and some not so old) were unable to get out of their homes for days – not because of the snow – but because it lay untouched and turned to ice and became impassable in so many places.
So did Haringey do better this year? This year my LibDem councillor colleague, Cllr Lyn Weber is doing the same research that I did last year and gathering evidence so that she can ensure that Haringey Council’s contractors live up to their contract.
Cllr Weber is putting together an analysis of just how and when roads were gritted during the recent heavy snow. If you would like to contribute to this – please email her [email protected] If it snows again – and that has to be an odds-on bet at this early stage of the year – she would be grateful then if people would email her with those details too.
But this year, we are also looking for ideas to ensure that we don’t always face complete chaos when snow strikes. So Cllr Weber would also like people to email her anything that they have seen work in other boroughs or any ideas they might have.
To date she has received some super suggestions ranging from why not set snow clearance tasks for able community service/payback volunteers; why can’t Haringey ask the TA if they can help out; people clearing their own paths (not illegal) and why can’t Haringey use a multi-use cleaning pavement machine that can be adapted to clear ice and snow approximately 1 foot wide along a pavement?
So please do send in both your ‘evidence’ on what Haringey Council did or did not do during the last snow and any more snows that fall – and any ideas on how we can all make sure that our roads and pavements are made passable during cold snaps.
By Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey & Wood Green
Tel: 020 8340 5459
She blogs at www.LynneFeatherstone.org and is on Twitter at twitter.com/LFeatherstone
Email: [email protected] or write to her at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA