Saturday, 9 January 2010

Salt bins and red diesel

Years ago I recall the County Council used to pay a retainer to farmers who had invested in a snow plough attachment; once a sufficient depth of snow had settled, out they would come to clear the 'B' roads. Not completely, of course, but down to driveable condition, and the council gritters could economically deal with the thin layer remaining in their own time. No more alas; word is that the Treasury is no longer prepared to turn a blind eye to the use of red diesel for highways work, and no farmer is going to keep a tank of road diesel just on the offchance.

Years ago, urban streets were furnished with salt bins, kept stocked by the councils, ostensibly for the use of street sweepers to spread, but in practice a community resource as people cleared their sections of pavement and those of elderly neighbours with it. Again, no more; we can't be trusted with such things these days. One council even warned householders not to clear the pavement - on the grounds that if anyone slipped on the cleared section, the householder would share liability for damages.

I suspect this risk averseness will dominate many people's thinking; if I slip and fall, who can I sue? Who's to blame for the snow? No doubt oleaginous lawyers across the land are already squidging their pudgy damp palms in glee at the sueing opportunities. And as half the country seems paralysed (with many Londoners imagining that those warnings not to travel unless absolutely necessary apply to them) our surrender of personal responsibility to the State seems complete. Wait for the State to clear the snow. Wait for the State to bring you food.

Right. Things to do. Outside.


Savonarola said...

Spot on.

We are the authors of our own misfortune. We have surrendered our mind and body to the state and feel let down that Govt is unable to get to our little suburban street to grit and clear same thus ensuring our week long captivity.

Until we get off our backsides and stop hiding in dungheaps we will remain victims.

The Great Simpleton said...

we have a salt bin at the top of our road that the council refills when e ask - although they are struggling now.

Between us we have the road cleared enough to get in and out faster that the trunk road at the top is cleared. We ensure that the paths of the elderly.

Yesterday I went to the nearest town get some bread and milk for housebound elderly neighbours and and I know others do the same.

This isn't the "blitz" spirit, its normal human behavior. It goes on quietly day in, day out, but sadly is receding as the state and health and safety fetishists take over our lives.

Rossa said...

Lord Adonis our glorious Transport Secretary has already been quoted as saying that the people should show "the spirit of the blitz" and get out there to clear the roads and pavements.

Anyone told Health and Safety yet?

So if we get sued for clearing our drive and the postman or paperboy falls over can we counter sue the Government for telling us to do so?

Don't think so.

If I'm going to get out there to clear the roads and pavements why should I pay the council to do the job?

Blue Eyes said...

Spot on R. A colleague of mine was accusing the news reports of being unhelpful by not stating what kind of journey might count as "essential". Did it include getting to work, he wondered. He had a face like a smacked arse when I suggested he used his own brain to decide whether he was able to get to work safely or not.

Of course he could.

Savonarola said...

Yes we cleared our road. Started spading on my own and within 30 minutes we were 8 adults and 14 children. We had our grit bin removed by council(Guildford) in August and were told we do not qualify as we are not a rural community. We will buy our own bin and stock it ourselves. I will deduct £100 from my council bill and invite them to sue me.

Anonymous said...

All very well in a town but what about rural situations. I know of several people who cannot leave their homes. They cannot easily walk from the narrow country lane, some 1/2 mile, to the B or C road that is a mile distant from the local town. It is 8 inches deep in snow and iced over in most parts. Not exactly a job to be done in a few minutes with a spade!!

They pay council tax see no benefit from it - no gritting, no refuse collection even no post!

Anonymous said...

My wife and I (both pensioners) clear our paths and around the car every morning, we had 4 inches overnight so quite a job this morning, I`m on crutches and my wife has health problems but we know that once we run low on provisions we`ll have to get to the shops. Once out onto the two and a half miles of untreated roads before we get to a salted area will be another story though. Ah the joys of living in a third world country eh?

Bill Quango MP said...

I am guilty. I have no salt and no grit and my pavement is right next door to the local shop. I waited for the council and by the time I realised they weren't going to do anything all supplies had sold out.
I only didn't do it immediately as I EXPECTED someone else would.
That is a sad state of affairs.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

It's nice to see that the Curlers on the Lake of Menteith are made of sterner stuff.

Will said...

In the past the farmers in this area dragged out a snow plough and hung it on the front of whatever vehicle they had, and the lanes and by-roads were kept clear. No longer, it would seem. All because of the restrictions on the use of red diesel. How cazy is this, with the country disrupted, schools closed, and councils only gritting priority 1 roads if you are lucky. Other countries are much better prepared than we are.