Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Ice and no action from council

I sent this letter to the Beverley Guardian today....

East Riding residents say the icy roads and pavements are a disgrace. Driffield, for example, has been even worse than Beverley. I've spoken to officers of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) and they say they treat 38% of the road network on a precautionary basis and an additional 12% on a ‘responsive’ basis, but little or no funding is allocated for cul-de-sacs or pavements. Meanwhile the injuries are mounting - along with all their pain, cost and inconvenience. A&E in Hull has had ‘unprecedented’ numbers of injuries and has been forced to send people on elsewhere for surgery.

The ice issue is yet another example of ERYC’s poor record in deciding on sensible and humane priorities. ERYC seems to have priorities other than residents' welfare and safety - or surely there would be plans in place for emergency situations such as this? It should be a priority to enable people to get out of their houses. There's job potential too. Plenty of people would have been pleased with some seasonal paid work clearing smaller footpaths. Maybe there is a lack of ‘special vehicles’, or maybe health and safety regulation is being allowed to get in the way of common sense? Whatever the reason, there’s no excuse for leaving residents trapped at home or risking serious injury by going out. It’s the Council’s job to sort this.

But it’s a political decision - and ERYC is Tory-dominated. Do we want to see more neglect of public service and cost-cutting in the future? It’s ironic in this context that Graham Stuart (Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness) talks of care of those who are ‘elderly, frail or lonely’ – the very people who have been frozen into their homes. Green politicians, whether on local councils, in Westminster, or in Europe, prioritise safety and welfare. For example, there are 7 Green City Councillors in Oxford, where ‘all the main roads and pavements are gritted’ (quoted from your article last week).

Let’s have more sense and fairness instead of hidebound political thinking in pursuit of ‘targets’…and empty rhetoric.

Sincerely, Shan Oakes Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Haltemprice and Howden


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