As Milton Keynes recovers from chaos caused by this week’s snow and ice, Labour councillors have been blasted for plans to save £10,000 by scrapping grit bins.
Some 400 yellow bins are placed in strategic locations all over MK for the public to help themselves to grit.
Conservative councillor Peter Geary said: “It’s an excellent idea. The bins might be at the start of a hill, on a junction or any public area that could be particularly dangerous in icy conditions.
“The idea is that members of the public take a few shovel loads and put it down somewhere that is slippery. All the council has to do is keep the bins full,” he added.
Last year the council’s Labour administration announced budget-cutting plans to ditch the grit bin service. But the proposals was voted out by Tory and Lib Dem councillors.
Next year’s budget has just gone out for consultation – and it includes another plan to scrap the grit bins.
“It’s ironic that this has come to light just as MK suffers one of the coldest spells for years. It has proved just how much we need these bins,” said Mr Geary.
He said the £10,000 annual saving was negligible compared to the cost of somebody suffering a fall on the ice.
“It’s estimated that it costs up to £19,000 to treat and care for one pensioner that has broken a leg – and that doesn’t take into account the pain and distress. It makes a mockery of this saving.”
Council leader Pete Marland said the grit bins were one of the “difficult choices” the council had to make to carry out £14m worth of cuts. He said even in poor weather the grit bins were of “limited” help – but he was happy to listen to people’s views.