Big freeze triggers frosty reaction to gritting in Rainham

ICY conditions are continuing to cause a problem and spark complaints more than a week since the snow stopped falling.

Resident David Garfield wrote to Havering Council to air his disappointment at the lack of gritting along several predominantly used pavements and footpaths in Rainham near his home and in the village this week.

A Havering Council spokesman said: “We do understand that there have been difficult conditions for walkers and drivers and we have been doing all we can to keep the streets clear.”

Mr Garfield, acting streetleader of Lamb’s Lane South, was particularly concerned about the footpath between Upminster Road South and Tesco. He said: “The fact that it has a slope makes it all the more treacherous.”

He also highlighted hazardous pavements outside The Chafford School, in Lamb’s Lane South, which he said was “one of the largest schools within the borough”; Wennington Road “a main thoroughfare and a route to Rainham Station and the village”, along with the shared cycle and footpaths along the A1306.

“I was obliged to stay on the carriageway,” Mr Garfield said.

He took photos of the footpath from Upminster Road South to Tesco more than a week after the bad snowfall. He said: “Neither it nor adjoining paths have received treatment of any description.

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“I would like an explanation for the perennial failures in this respect. On this occasion, there was adequate warning of severe weather, so there can be no realistic excuse.”

A Havering Council spokesman outlined a strict procedure the council follows to prioritise which roads and pavements are gritted first.

If there is substantial snow, like last week, the main roads (excluding trunk roads - A12, A13, A127 - which are the responsibility of Transport for London and the M25 motorway which is the responsibility of the Highways Agency), bus routes and roads to emergency service centres are treated first. Then highways to essential industrial establishments, mainline and underground stations, bus garages, shopping centres and pedestrian areas. Next would be other commuter routes, followed by single accesses to schools. Residential roads and footways comes fifth in the pecking order followed lastly by roads to single premises.

A spokesman said: “We have had five gritters working 24 hours a day covering 618km of roads in Havering. In addition, we have had street cleaners laying salt and sand in all of our main shopping areas including Romford, Hornchurch, Harold Hill, Rainham village and Upminster.

“Gritting residential streets can only take place after the main roads, bus routes, access to emergency centres and other priority routes are clear.

“Pavements are also gritted in order of priority, with areas such as major shopping centres where there is high pedestrian usage being treated first.”

Of the borough’s roads 47per-cent (a total 288km) are classed as top priority, and a further 53per-cent (330km) of them are what the council calls priority two.

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