New Plans for Winter Gritting Near Rural Schools (29/09/09)
29 September 2009
Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy has announced new winter gritting arrangements for areas around rural schools.
The new arrangements follow an examination of the Department for Regional Development’s Winter Service operation around rural schools, commissioned by the Minister, following the severe wintry conditions in December 2008. The examination was conducted by a team of senior Roads Service officials and the new measures will be implemented this winter.
The Minister said: “Most people understand that in exceptional winter conditions there is bound to be some disruption. But there is always scope to improve the way we handle these events, and Roads Service has used the experience of last winter to develop better measures for dealing with areas around rural schools which are regularly affected by bad weather.
“Roads Service will be introducing new procedures, which mean that affected schools can contact their local Roads Service depots to request salting during severe weather conditions and that if Roads Service become aware of ice or snow in these areas they will act immediately. Salt piles and salt bins will also be provided to affected schools upon request.
“I believe that the implementation of these additional measures will help parents, pupils and staff reach these rural schools safely and assist in avoiding closures and high absentee levels in future adverse weather conditions.”
Notes to Editors:
1. The new procedures will initially involve the 44 schools affected by the severe weather conditions last winter. Schools will be provided with Roads Service contact names and telephone numbers, so that secondary salting can be ordered when roads were icy. Secondary salting generally takes place on targeted routes when the main roads have been cleared. If Roads Service becomes aware of wintry conditions impacting on the area surrounding these schools they will also act immediately and organise gritting to take place.
2. Media queries to the Press Office DRD Tel. 028 9054 0887. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.