Gritter ban rethink call after Blighs Lane stoning

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly. (0605PG64)
Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly. (0605PG64)

Independent Derry Councillor Gary Donnelly has said that a ban on gritting in the Bligh’s Lane area implemented after workers came under attack could put lives at risk.

Colr. Donnelly was speaking as he warned those behind the attack on a gritting crew in the area earlier this week that they are jeopardising the safety of their own families and the wider community.

His comments come after a senior Roads Engineer from the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) wrote to local Councillors this week to advise them that gritting services were being withdrawn as a result of the attack.

The letter states: “I am writing to advise that following a stoning incident by youths on one of our gritters on Tuesday evening in the Bligh’s Lane/Lonemoor Road area, this Department has regrettably decided to withdraw the salting service from this area. This decision has not been taken lightly but we are obliged to ensure the safety of all our staff providing this much needed service. Gritting is an already hazardous task without any additional risk being added.”

The official said the matter will be kept under review in the hope that services can be reinstated as soon as possible.

There have been several reports of ice causing treacherous conditions on the steep Blighs Lane over recent years, and Colr. Donnelly urged DfI to reverse its decision to withdraw services across the area. He said: “I understand the dangers of young people attacking gritters but this is a vital service for the people living in this area. If this is not reinstated it leaves ordinary people at risk.”

He added: “The young people involved need to understand that their actions they are putting the wellbeing of people within their own families and area in jeopardy.

“They need to think about their actions as they are hurting their own community.”