Severe Criticism of Highway Gritting Today!

Today there was a lot of criticism in Wednesfield North about the state of the roads and the highway safety. I have tried to ascertain from City Officials all the information relating to the actions the city took to protect our highway network

I have also endeavoured to respond to individual questions and criticism across both my Facebook pages and through my Twitter Account.  So after a morning of answering and reaching out to  thousands of social media readers I asked the following questions…..

12507275_992412354140059_5103971420602862818_n gritters“From: Phil Bateman [] Sent: 15 January 2016 12:04 To:  Subject: Fw: 15th Jan -Friday- Griffith Drive Ashmore Park Wednesfield [NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED]

Steve- This has been a bad morning up here in Wednesfield North. The criticism about the condition of the roads have been remorseless and very damaging to Wolverhampton’s reputation. I have tried very hard to explain what has taken place, and that Gritters were out and on the road. The Public statement however has done much to undercut that thrust. The fact is that the arrangements were ineffective,Griffith Drive did become unserviceable for PSV’s, The public bus service was then truncated short of the bus route, as the Drive was deemed dangerous. 

I have tried very hard to counter criticism that Public Realm did not grit. Could you please arrange for me to have a chronology of the times that Wednesfield North Priority network was covered by the gritting vehicles please. I do try and ensure that the information flow between Councillors here in Wednesfield North – and our residents are good and remain so. Currently we are all picking up flack for what the public see as incompetence. 

This is really the first day of winter, we do not need to have this everyday that this freezing weather exists. Can I ask that any info you have that you feel will be helpful for residents here be passed thru to me. I will ensure it gets out to many thousand residents. The effectiveness of the strategy that was set in motion needs to be examined. If the warnings and the weather forecasts were adhered to, the quality of the salt and the grit mix comes into question doesn’t it?”

Here is the response that those questions have delivered

“Dear Councillor Bateman – We responded to the conditions, gritters were out last night and this morning. Teams did all that was reasonably practical and that the decisions made were as a result of the weather information available at the time. I have every confidence that the coming cold weather will be dealt with effectively by our gritting teams as in previous years. 

Gritting operations  commenced at 18:00 – 21:30 14th January 2016 using, Thawrox + applied.

Thawrox+ is a 6mm rock salt that has been premixed with an agricultural by-product, a derivative of sugar production called Safecote which has powerful anti-icing, de-icing and corrosion inhibition properties.  The teams grit 50% of the City road network about 450km and it takes three and half to four hours to complete. 

Road inspections were carried out during the night, no issues and road surface temperatures were above zero. Road surface temp then dropped as a result of a snow/sleet shower, clearing skies after shower lead to a rapid fall in temperature. 8:00am 15th January 2016 – Gritting action called.”

It appears then that whilst Gritters were out between 6.00 and 21.30 on Thursday night, the Gritting team were not out in Wednesfield North this morning until 8.00am. after the road temperatures had dropped. I am sure that there will be a review taken of the performance, and I will ensure that I make a contribution reflecting your views going forward.

I try very hard to reflect your views as constituent and ensure that you have information and knowledge. I have control of that. But I do not operate or control the Highway Gritting service in any personal way!


Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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