Peacock Queries Road Service compliance with Rural Needs Act
Sinn Féin Candidate for Ballymoney Leanne Peacock has said rural communities are negatively impacted by the failure to grit rural roads in winter and she called on Roads Service to comply with the Rural Needs Act 2016.
Leanne Peacock said:
"I have written to Roads Service to query whether their winter gritting policies have been looked at under the provision of the Rural Needs Act 2016. This places a statutory duty on public authorities to have due regard for rural needs.
“It is clear that the failures of current winter gritting policy is felt much more acutely by rural communities. This adversely affects rural communities, rural businesses and their access to services including essential services like education and healthcare in the winter months.
“Roads Service policy currently states that there must be at least 1500 cars per day travel on a road for it to be considered for winter gritting. 1500 cars per day is simply too high for rural areas and is disproportionate to the population of such areas.
“Roads like the Duneany Road in Rasharkin, which does have over 1000 cars per day, provides access to one of the major road arteries in the area. The Glebe Road, Rasharkin has a significant number of heavy goods lorries in use but fails to meet the criteria.
“The Bridge Road in Dunloy, where children cannot attend school on winter days due to limited access, clearly demonstrate the disproportionate impact that failure to grip raids in winter has on rural areas such as Dunloy and Rasharkin.
“I have queried why the Rural Needs Act 2016, which is an important piece of legislation, has not been applied to the criteria for gritting.
“I await a response from Roads Service.”