ALL 47 grit bins in Reading will remain in place for the coming winter, following an annual review of winter service provision.
The Council had intended to remove grit bin provision in the borough later in 2018 as part of a package of budget savings agreed earlier this year. All grit bins will now be retained as a result of the highways team identifying efficiency savings elsewhere in its budget.
Every year Reading Borough Council puts in place a robust Winter Service Plan to help combat the worst effects of extreme weather on the town’s roads users and residents.
A review takes place annually where the Council looks at the cost of the overall service, the provision of grit bins and the effectiveness of the Winter Service Plan against the Council’s Statutory obligations under the Highway Act 1980. A new piece of legislation also came into effect this year called the Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: Code of Practice.
The introduction of new computer software systems in the highways team now makes it easier, quicker and more efficient for inspectors to record defects and order a repair direct to a vehicle which is carrying out repair work. This reduces time and paperwork and minimises errors.
Efficiency savings brought about by this ‘asset management’ approach to highway maintenance means the Council has been able to deliver the required efficiency savings to accommodate a reduced budget, while at the same time delivering the necessary highway maintenance programmes. Efficiencies realised this year also include a small saving negotiated by the Council with its winter service contractor.
Reading Borough Council’s updated Winter Service Plan will now be brought to a meeting of the Council’s Strategic Environment Planning & Transport Committee on 21st November 2018 for review and approval.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“I’m pleased that the Council highways team has managed to find the required efficiencies elsewhere, thereby making it possible to retain all 47 grit bins in Reading this winter.
“I would also like to emphasise that the efficiency savings have been achieved without a reduction in the agreed highways maintenance programmes, but by making better use of technology to cut costs and through a saving negotiated with the Council’s winter service contractor.”