Drivers fear winter of traffic chaos as county council puts Northamptonshire gritting routes on ice

Last winter was one of the most disruptive on record after "the beast from the east" snowstorm hit the UK.
Last winter was one of the most disruptive on record after "the beast from the east" snowstorm hit the UK.

Northamptonshire's drivers fear there will be "more accidents, more slips and more jams" this winter after the county council axed almost 500 roads from its main gritting routes.

in a move to save some £475,000, the county council will no longer grit a huge list of roads during anything less than "adverse" weather - which typically means accumulating snow on roads.

But drivers and bus companies across the county have slammed the cuts and say it will cause chaos on the roads.

One Chronicle and Echo reader, Luke Badharee, wrote on Facebook: "This is a very risky policy. Expect more accident more strain on the NHS [and] people slipping over on the pavement or possibly being run over... Hope the council are prepared to take responsibility for all this."

A county council spokesman says the cuts were "a tough decision" brought on by the council ongoing financial difficulties and that the roads will still be gritted when snow conditions are declared.

But bus company Stagecoach is also concerned how their services will be hit this winter. A spokesman said: "During the last bout of snow, our Northampton team managed to keep our buses running through extreme conditions. This was in part due to the fact that key roads were gritted.

"We are therefore extremely disappointed [and] will need to evaluate our services at the time to assess the safety of running them during icy weather but would urge the council to reconsider."

Parents have pointed out that many of the axed routes are near primary schools and nurseries and will cause "chaos" on the school run.

Reader Emma-Jane Hartley wrote: "Let's just hope we don't have a big freeze. If the weather is bad, the repercussions will end up costing the council far more than they're looking to save."

The precautionary network - which the 497 roads have been removed from - will be gritted whenever they is a forecast temperature of 0.5C over a 24-hour period. The complete adverse network will be gritted ahead of a high chance of snow or if temperatures are not expected to rise above zero for 48 hours.