The Isle of Wight Council has done a major u-turn and will NOT be reducing the number of gritting routes on the Island’s roads this winter.

The local authority had planned to reduce by 52km the length of roads in this year’s winter gritting service — however, following public criticism and stakeholder feedback, it will continue to grit the same roads as last year.

It means 355km of roads — representing more than 40 per cent of the Island’s total road network — will once again be treated.

Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for infrastructure and highways, said:

“We have listened and acted on the concerns of our residents to ensure we can maintain the widest range possible of safe connections between all of our major settlements this winter.

“Being clear about which routes provide this connectivity helps us to prioritise safety on the roads this winter and I am grateful for the feedback that has clarified how best we can achieve this for our communities wherever they are.”

Island Roads, which delivers the winter service on behalf of the council, typically runs the service from November until the end of March, however the company began its close monitoring of the network conditions at the start of October to ensure that any abnormally cold spell could be responded to if required.

Delivery has also been taken of around 1,600 tonnes of salt, a comparable amount to previous years, in readiness for the winter season.

Motorists are reminded to always drive according to the conditions. Just because a road has been gritted it doesn’t mean it is safe to drive at normal speeds in poor weather conditions.