Tests will take place on the grit used on Kirklees’ roads to see if it can be improved.

And it’s been revealed that £700,000 of the council’s £1.8m winter budget has already been spent.

The news came as Colne Valley’s Clr Nicola Turner called for gritting routes to be forecast and need based, rather than the whole priority network being gritted if it wasn’t needed.

Clr Steve Hall, Cabinet member for roads, gave an update to Full Council on the latest grit situation.

He said: “Over the Christmas period we did 21 grits on priority routes, six were between 26-30 December

“The worst was Boxing Day. We had snow, it melted, it froze. The problem was the grit needs to be run in, and because there wasn’t much traffic it was sitting on top and not breaking down the ice.

“We’ve a budget of £1.825m and so far we’ve spent £700,000 of this and we haven’t had any great shakes or really bad weather.”

“There are questions about the grit, we’re going to do some testing on the grit to see if there is a way we can improve it.

 

“A lot of people think the winter budget is just for gritting, it isn’t, it includes dealing with ice, frost, flooding and high winds.

“We’ll continue to support people in the sticks, but apart from going to church and asking the big man not to make it snow, there’s not much more we can do, we’re doing our best.”

He added that 1,450 grit bins had been filled.

The grit used by Kirklees is properly known as rock salt and comes from the major suppliers in places like Cheshire.

A typical gritting uses about 93 tonnes of grit. Rock salt dissolves without residue.

Several councillors voiced concern over the gritting operation.

Clr Nicola Turner, Lib Dem, called for a re-think on gritting above 1000ft.

Clr Liz Smaje, Birstall and Birkenshaw Conservative, said there were places in North Kirklees impacted by ice, and agreed the council should grit where its needed rather than a whole priority routes.

Clr Bill Armer, Kirkburton Conservative, asked for extra grit bins for estates on hills, and Clr Steve Hall replied that if an estate has a group of residents willing the council can have grit dropped off if residents spread it.

Clr Peter O’Neill, Cabinet member for communities, questioned if they should recommend all motorists get winter tyres, have a winter car check and carry snow chains, as he does.

Clr Salim Patel, Dewsbury South Conservative, thanked council staff for their swift action.

Clr Molly Walton, 80, spoke out at Full Council blasting Examiner readers who complained about Kirklees's gritting efforts as 'd***heads'.