Review of winter service programme in Northern Ireland published

An independent review into the delivery of the winter service programme by Roads Service in Northern Ireland has been published.

Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy (pictured) said that overall the findings of the review, which was carried out by the National Winter Service Research Group, were positive.

He said: “Following the severe weather in January and March of this year, I believed it was important to assess the effectiveness of our arrangements and identify areas for improvement.

“I am encouraged that the review has been generally positive and has praised the experience and professionalism of DRD frontline staff.”

A total of 14 recommendations were made in on winter service policy and procedures.

One of the key recommendations from the review was that the winter service fleet replacement programme continues to be prioritised.

The Minister added: “My department has recently bought 12 new gritters at a cost of £900,000 which will be incorporated into our current fleet of 132. The new fleet will help in delivering more reliable winter service operations in the most extreme conditions.

“Whilst the purchase of these new gritters is welcome, the report highlights the necessity for an ongoing replacement of the fleet. During the severe weather this year, there were breakdowns which resulted in delays to gritters salting the roads. In my view this was simply unacceptable – given it impacted on the public.

“I am committed to an improved winter service fleet and continue to seek funding for better equipment.”

An action plan has been prepared to deal with the recommendations of the review.

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