KIRKLEES Council looks set to change its gritting operations.
But the move to a new system which concentrates on higher routes more prone to bad weather may not come in until next winter.
And that delay has been criticised by Kirklees councillors, who have been calling for a change for years.
Colne Valley councillors Nicola Turner and David Ridgway have again demanded changes to the council’s gritting policy this Christmas for the fourth successive year.
Clr Turner said she had again been inundated by complaints from residents living on higher grounds in the Colne Valley.
She wants the council to look at changing the current system of gritting priority routes first to one in which higher ground or areas susceptible to freezing were dealt with first.
The council have now said they hope to have the technology and the systems in place to bring in such a system next year.
Clr Cathy Scott, Cabinet member for Streetscene, said: “Kirklees Highways respond to all incidences of forecasted freezing roads by pre-gritting to prevent ice forming.
“Where the ice has not been forecast, but is forming, we can salt 1,000km of Priority Routes within two hours.
“The concept of route-based forecasting re-organises the routes to individual climate zones and allows for resources to be targeted at the problem areas for pre–gritting when ice is forecast.
“We have been working with the Met Office for the last two years and are confident that new technology will allow us to introduce Route Based Forecasting for Winter 2013/14.”
But Clr Ridgway said it should happen much sooner – in time to deal with bad weather in the coming weeks.
“We have been pushing for this for a long time and if they are confident they have the technology available, it should be used now.
“This is a problem that occurs all across the area, and villages in the Holme Valley are just as badly affected as in the Colne Valley”.
Clr Turner said: “Every year in the run up to Christmas I deal with lots of local complaints about gritting and this year is no different.
“The problem has always been that the council’s gritting policy doesn’t take enough account of the landscape that we live in.
“At the moment they grit according to the priority status of the roads. But unfortunately the climate doesn’t work in priority order. So you get some roads, which are important, being gritted first, while others, which may be more isolated and higher up or at the bottom of quieter valley, being left till later regardless of the fact that it might be these roads that freeze over first.
“You also get situations where the council is gritting roads entirely unnecessarily.”