Ian Yuill

Liberal Democrat councillor for Mannofield, Airyhall, Braeside, Broomhill, Garthdee, Kaimhill and Ruthrieston Learn more

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Icy pavements – response from senior council manager

by Ian Yuill on 12 January, 2018

Photo of icy pavementI was contacted by many residents about the problems with gritting pavements during the recent icy weather. People told me about slips and falls they had had on icy pavements, whilst others told me they or their relatives felt trapped in their homes because they did not believe the pavements were safe.

Whenever I was contacted about a particular pavement I reported that to the council’s staff and urged that that pavement was gritted as soon as possible.

I also contacted the council’s Roads Infrastructure Manager, the senior manager responsible for snow clearing and gritting, and asked a number of questions. I have now received a reply from him and you can read my questions and his answers to those questions below:

1. Is any information available on the cost to the NHS in Aberdeen of treating and providing care for people who have slipped and been injured on icy pavements?

None at present.

2. Would it not make overall financial sense to the public sector for investment in pavement gritting to be increased so as to reduce the cost to the NHS of treating people injured by slipping on icy pavements?

The conditions encountered during this two week spell was of wet snow turning to ice overnight and then 10 days of ice melt during the day along with the refreezing of the surface due to the low overnight temperatures, this made the operation of the distributed salt from the footpath plough less than effective. Salt requires to be turned into a brine solution to be effective in melting ice, in these low temperature conditions this was not happening. An increase in resources of even 10 fold would not have been sufficient to cover the 2000km of footpath within the first few hours of snowfall.

3. Does the council recognise the impact being trapped in their homes has on people who are unable to leave their homes because they cannot navigate icy pavements?

The council are aware and during the last period of severe weather made arrangements for assistance to be provided for those requiring assistance with food, medical requirements, etc.

4. What, if any, provision does the council make to support vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes because they cannot navigate icy pavements?

See above.

5. Is any information available on the negative impact on local businesses (shops in particular) in Aberdeen resulting from their customers’ inability to reach them because of the icy condition of many pavements?

No information to date, there has been no mention on social media or press that this has been a problem.


12 Responses

  1. GM says:

    What appallingly poor responses.

  2. John buchan says:

    I have to say some of there replys are just not on I reported to your self of our pavements at the front and back of our houses at Ramsay crescent. From the day of the bad weather not once did they salt or sand our paths. Both are at a slope they were solid with ice . Until the day the it started to melt that’s when I contacted you and they came out with salt after the event . Total waist of time we were stuck in our houses for the almost the ten days just a totaly joke .
    John buchan

  3. john flood says:

    i note the comment about the salt from the pavement plough being ineffective. Since none was put down on our street the comment is irrelevant.

  4. jeff walker says:

    where have all the yellow grit boxes dissappeared to?

  5. erlend corrigall says:

    I find the response pure CYA. I am amazed that for some reason Aviemore can clear all their streets including all minor ones yet Aberdeen cannot even attempt to because too cold, Aviemore is warmer then hmmmm

  6. Jim Maitland says:

    Pretty poor response I cannot believe that this year is much different to any other and we did have a pavement gritter go along our street.Problem was no salt/grit was dispersed.
    The point re cost to NHS is really relevant as it comes at a period of hiatus to an already tested facility.


  7. Paul Charlton says:

    I completely agree with John Flood – good science, but irrelevant since no effort to grit pavement was evident! There are many pensioners in my area (Newlands/ S.Anderson Drive) and most took to the roads because it was safer! Safer to walk on South Anderson Drive!!

  8. Lynne Morrison says:

    While the question regarding the overall financial sense has not been answered, the response does state that the salt methods currently used are ineffective for standard Scottish Winter weather. Rather than continuously ineffectively salting priority one routes (Union Street and Rosemount) as per comments made to the media at the time, surely it would make more sense to look at effective way of dealing with it – for example sanding, giving the surface some added friction, rather than trying to continually melt ice in a constant wet and freezing environment?

    Will we also get the information regarding the cost to the NHS versus the cost of gritting pavements when these figures are available?

    • Ian Yuill says:

      Believe it or not, I’m told one of th reasons the council switch to using just salt on pavements was because some people complained that sand from pavements was being carried into their homes on people’s feer.

      The figures about costs to the NHS will have to come from the NHS rather than the council.

  9. Joanne says:

    It would definitely be helpful if grit bins were more readily available, I looked at the map and there aren’t any in the immediate vicinity of Holburn Road or Street (which also weren’t treated at all during the cold spell). I also walked on the road in order to get to work, down through Ferryhill, which felt like taking my life into my own hands!!

  10. Cindy Blackmore says:

    The reply from the Council was totally negative – what the Council needs to understand is that all of us are pedestrians when we leave our homes, alight from buses and get out of motor vehicles. The paths around Airyhall Library and the Seafield Shops areas were definitely not touched at all. The Deeside Way Cycle/Walking Path was just like a skating rink and totally unsafe to use.

  11. A. INNES says:

    typical council negative reply. there scientific answer to pavement safety should be questioned as they managed to keep pavements clear a few Wears ago. what has changed is it the melting point of ice or the efficiency of the council.

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