'It is vital that all of our town and city centres are properly gritted during any periods of extreme winter weather. As we have seen in recent years, there have been periods of considerable snow and ice which can build up on footpaths and lead to very dangerous conditions for pedestrians. Given the risks associated with this, it is vital that a joined up approach is undertaken between Transport NI and local Councils to ensure that footpaths are gritted and cleared of snow. During periods of extreme weather in the past, there has been confusion around the responsibility of maintaining footpaths as a number of areas did not have a clear arrangement in place.
I welcome the commitment from the Infrastructure Minister that an arrangement is now in place with all eleven Councils across Northern Ireland. However, now that the reorganisation of Councils is fully complete we need to see further progress on getting a consistent uniform policy through a formal agreement across all eleven Councils to ensure that every town and city centre is properly resourced and prepared to deal with any periods of extreme weather.'
Note to editors
Details of Mr Dunne's question: Written Answer AQW 7276/16-21 - Gritting Footpaths During Winter
To ask the Minister for Infrastructure whether a contract arrangement is in place with all eleven local councils to grit footpaths during winter
My Department currently has arrangements with all eleven District Councils for the removal of ice and snow from town centre footways during prolonged severe winter weather. These arrangements range from formal agreements in the structure of Memoranda of Understanding to more informal arrangements, contained in an exchange of letters between the respective parties. However, all are based on the same fundamental principles and each contains the basic requirement of an agreed schedule of footways to be treated by the Council, the amount of salt to be provided by TransportNI and salt delivery arrangements.