Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham MP's 'fiasco' claims over weather

Jack Dromey (pic: Labour Party)
Image caption Jack Dromey appealed for intervention "early and often"

A Birmingham Labour MP claims the way the city dealt with the wintry weather was a "complete fiasco".

Erdington MP Jack Dromey said every road he travelled on at the weekend in his constituency was not gritted.

He said he thought it was "a toss-up" as to who has been "more incompetent"- the council or transport secretary Philip Hammond and the government.

The council said everything that could be done reasonably within the city had been carried out.

Mr Dromey said in his constituency at the weekend the roads which were not gritted included "normally what one would call main roads".

'Complete scandal'

He added that parts of Tyburn Road in Erdington were not gritted and people could not get up most of the Stockland Green hills.

Mr Dromey said he was stuck on the M40 motorway at the weekend and added: "This is a complete scandal and it's about time that those in power use their power to get Birmingham and Britain moving."

Asked what he would be doing differently, he said: "What you do is you have adequate supplies of salt, you have proper snow ploughing of the roads...

"Also what you do is you intervene early and often...

"There's a lot of people who are paying the price including people who are slipping, falling down on the ice and as a consequence their Christmas has been ruined."

'Running free'

Alistair Campbell, head of constituency services at Birmingham City Council, said the authority had been gritting "day and night" since Friday.

He added that the council, which has a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, had "not done at all badly with regard to the execution of the winter maintenance plan".

Responding to delays on Monday, Mr Campbell said: "We had a few road traffic accidents, which clearly caused the problem.

"But by 6 o'clock the roads were running free and although it was slippy and people had to drive with care, there was not... chaos."

Mr Campbell said from a "really grim" situation on Saturday afternoon, the council managed to reach a position where people could get into Birmingham city centre "with ease on the Sunday".

On Tuesday Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he was making available to highways authorities 30,000 tonnes from a salt supply established earlier this year.

At the weekend he defended the way authorities have dealt with recent snowfall across the UK, insisting that "all strategic roads are open".

He added major roads were prepared for the "extreme cold weather".

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