Staffordshire County Council plea over calls to highways hotline

A gritter

A gritter

Residents in Lichfield and Burntwood are being urged to think before they call a highways hotline.

Staffordshire County Council have made the appeal for people to only ring the hotline in an emergency after the number of calls peaked at 300 per hour this week.

The huge increase in demand sparked by the prolonged cold snap has left call centre staff struggling to cope. On average, the team deals with around 30 calls per hour to the 0800 232323 number, but this week the hourly figure was ten times the norm.

County Councillor Mike Maryon, Cabinet member for Highways, said:

“The volume of calls that the highways hotline is trying to handle at the moment is staggering and we are desperate to ensure that real emergency calls are not blocked by minor issues. However, the vast majority of calls that the team is taking are far from vital. These non emergency calls are putting immense pressure on an already stretched resource.

“I would urge residents to consider whether their question or comment really is vital. If it is not, don’t call. You could end up tying up the line while someone in dire straights is also trying to get through to the team.”

The appeal follows confirmation from the County Council that only A and B roads will now be gritted.

Grit bins are also not currently being restocked but critical locations such as around hospitals and GP surgeries and in town centres are still being gritted.

Cllr Maryon added:

“The highways team is braving the winter weather and is hand spreading a special salt based mixture around grit bin locations, on some road bends and on various steep hills. The team is pulling out all the stops to do everything in its power to keep Staffordshire on the move.

“However, people do need to remember to take extra care in these difficult conditions. Even roads that have been gritted can still be challenging when the winter weather takes hold and, when temperatures plummet to -8 or below, grit has no effect.”

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