Councillors raise residents’ gritting concerns about ‘unadopted’ roads in Hertfordshire

“I picked up this as a big issue, because we have certain developments in the county that have not been adopted for some while”
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COUNCILLORS have highlighted the problems faced by Hertfordshire residents living on ‘unadopted’ roads – when those roads are covered in ice or snow.

In a bid to keep roads safe and traffic moving, hundreds of miles of Hertfordshire’s roads are salted whenever wintry temperatures drop.

But the increasing numbers of ‘unadopted’ roads – which are not the responsibility of the local authority – are not.

Road gritting snowplough lorryRoad gritting snowplough lorry
Road gritting snowplough lorry

On Tuesday (July 4) the issue was highlighted at a meeting of the county council’s highway and transport cabinet panel, as part of a discussion on the council’s winter services operational plan.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Helen Campbell referenced a number of residents in an unadopted road in her St Albans North division that had had a real problem in the wintry conditions.

And she asked officers if there was anything that could be done – and whether it was an issue that was on their ‘radar’.

Fellow Lib Dem Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said that those living in large houses on unadopted roads may be paying the highest council tax.

And he asked how they could be made aware of the consequences of buying a house on an ‘unadopted’ road.

And Cllr Nigel Taylor highlighted residents on ‘unadopted’ roads being disqualified from applying for their own salt to grit roads.

The council’s head of highways contracts and management Steve Johnson told councillors said the county council had no responsibility – or authority – to treat private roads.

But he did note that residents cold buy grit supplies of grit ad hand spreaders privately.

Nevertheless executive member for highways and transport Cllr Phil Bibby did confirm that he had asked officers to look at ways a service could be provided.

“I picked up this as a big issue, because we have certain developments in the county that have not been adopted for some while,” he said.

“And people keep on thinking it is highways that should look after them – and the developers aren’t really looking after them .

“I have asked colleagues to actually see if we can provide a service where a contractor will provide the management service for unadopted roads or maintain them as a highway.

“[it would be] at the cost of the residents of course – but it would perhaps give more certainty to residents if they knew they had bought a house there was some big organisation behind it providing a management service.”

According to the report that was presented to the cabinet panel, last winter there were 78 precautionary salting outings on Hertfordshire roads – which is above the average of 58.

Councillors heard that the first significant snowfall in the county since 2018 was recorded in December 2022 – with road surface temperatures below zero for 12 consecutive days.

And this period, it was reported, accounted for just over 25 per cent of the entire season’s gritting runs.

As part of the self-help scheme, launched in September 2022, 4778 bags of salt were delivered to schools, residents’ groups and local councils.