Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Nitty Gritty

Following on from the outburst of comment regarding the winter weather problems and my attempt to provide a round-up summarising what happened it seems only a few days of introspection elapsed before more questions have arisen.

Cllr Benson provided a detailed account of the current council policy, which notes the proritization of primary routes.

However she also picks up on the out-sourcing of the management contract for 'winter traffic maintenance' to WPC Consultants, which in turn is responsible for managing the gritting contract with JH Cresswell & Sons.

In extreme conditions secondary confirmation of action is required to be provided by RBC authorities to take account of changing needs.

Obviously with such a divided structure communications can become easily strained.

As she continues, each side will need to respond to some serious questions about their performance in the policy review that has been scheduled for 28th January.

Meanwhile Cllr Benson is also concerned about the lack of leadership provided by the politicians who are nominally in charge of the structure.

So she may be glad to hear former Labour councillor and transport supremo John Howarth step up onto his soapbox and criticise a "widespread failure for individuals to take responsibility" as 15 years of progressive cuts to winter maintenance as the council was forced to look for ways to save money - perhaps it really is an honest mea culpa, or maybe he is just falling on his sword because when push comes to shove Labour doesn't believe in collective responsibility after all.

Local Conservative MPs John Howell and Rob Wilson continue to blame local council's simple lack of contingency planning and the amount of money in council coffers, while belatedly calling for a review of procedures to discover what conclusions should be drawn.

And although council services struggled to keep roads clear this caused a thorough depletion of gritting stockpiles, there are only enough supplies to cope with six more days of frost...


Update: On my other blog I compare the structural flaws which lead to the weather chaos with the structural flaws which lead to the credit crunch and the MP expenses scandal... and find some striking similarities.

Howard Thomas is worried authorities in Reading are oblivious to the temperatures.


Related reading: Commuters Grit Teeth As Weather Woes Grip Region; Anger Grows At Failure To Prevent Traffic Chaos; Whiteout Fallout Continues; Views and Perspectives; Round-up: What Went Wrong With The Winter Weather

1 comment:

  1. Rob Wilson is MP for Reading East not West last time I looked.


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