Winter has arrived in Huddersfield marginally earlier than it did last year but it has brought with it all of the chaos from last year’s snowy season.
Despite reassurances to the contrary, our roads this morning were treacherous and in a lot of places, unpassable.
Of course, the roads I make reference to are in such a state because they are not classified as “major” or “main” routes; even though some of them lead directly to our local Accident & Emergency.
I understand prioritisation; I know that not all roads can be gritted straight away but I witnessed something this morning that made me question the management of Kirklees Council’s snow handling team.
Twice this morning I passed snow ploughs on their way to a priority route. Once up Crosland Road (linking New Hey Road to Lindley Moor Road, both of which being major routes) and once up New Hey Road through Marsh.
Both ploughs had their plough raised and their gritters off.
I can understand the need to conserve rock salt; last year was a lesson in poor planning and bad conservation, when it came to rock salt stocks. Why raise the plough though?
The first plough was driving up an almost impassable road, by lowering its plough it could have cleared the way to a major road, connecting hundreds of commuters and lessening their struggles somewhat.
The second plough was driving up a road that had been ploughed, presumably a few hours earlier, but had rapidly filled with fresh snow and slush. In front of the plough, the road was clear, behind the plough traffic was backed up and slipping through the churned up slush. By lowering the plough, the road could have been made more passable for the traffic behind.
So what is the reasoning behind the raising of the plough?
Is it just a diligent adherence to the letter of one’s orders?
I can’t plough here because I have to go there and plough.
It’s more than my job’s worth. If I plough here I could get sued?
Maybe it is down to diesel, maybe it costs more to plough than to not plough?
Or, is it just careless planning and lack of thought regarding the welfare of one’s fellow man?