Monday through Thursday last week, our South Ayrshire Council's Gritting Lorries were out in force. Skies were clear and temperatures dropped close to Zero's C but rarely actually reached freezing point, except in the hills. On the coastal plain temperatures were normally in the +2'C to +4'C band.
Friday and Saturday: Temperatures dropped below Zero, in many places to -4'C, and there were falls of snow throughout the area.
None of the local 'A' and 'B' Roads were gritted on those evenings/nights. No gritting lorries were to be seen. I have no idea why.
Apart from a number of minor accidents caused by the ice and snow, a young couple died because their car slid into the path of another. The exact details are still unclear, but the cause was the Ice and Snow.
My Question: Is there anything that can be done to call South Ayrshire Council to Book for the removal of their Gritting Services when the weather actually required their presence.
Section 41a of the Highways Act 1980, says that a highway authority is under a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice.
There is case law which indicates a recognition that a local authority cannot possibly eliminate the risk of ice and snow being present on all roads within its jurisdiction. It is generally accepted that an authority should do the best it can in the circumstances, given the financial and logistical resources at its disposal.
The weather forecasters don't get it right every time, and neither do the councils who relay on them.
My own council are usually brilliant with their winter programme, so much so I have been moved on a couple of occasions to write and compliment them on the sipped with which they got the pavements ploughed, not cleared, but ploughed, using mini-ploughs (I'm quick enough to complain when I'm not satisfied. Only fair to do the opposite!).
This morning I awoke to find the road outside, normally a priority clearance, covered in snow. They got it wrong.