Clearing pavements: a question of priorities

SIR - During the recent cold snap (most likely to recur before winter fades into spring) I was horrified to witness the positively (an unnecessarily) dangerous condition of pavements and side roads in Sidmouth town centre.

In earlier autumn, I had seen a pretty little ‘green’ machine sweeping leaves from pavements, gutters and roads; presumably to keep these tidy. Falling leaves are a natural phenomenon at this time of year and are not an altogether unpleasant sight with their attractive autumn colours. They rarely cause disruption of traffic or injury to pedestrians. Uncleared and freezing snow does!

I wonder why could not that same little ‘green’ machine (utilised with scrapers, rather than brushes) have been used to clear pavements and side roads before they became a literal ice-rink.

Maybe the said machine is not adaptable for that task; but, if so, more primitive instruments, known as shovels, though requiring actual manual power, could have been brought out to clear at least pathways and steep hillsides, thus saving our older pedestrians the risk of falls and injury.

Of course, it will be claimed EDDC cannot afford the cost thereof; but can we, the public, afford the risk of unnecessary incapacity through falls; or our health services the extra workload unnecessary accidents bring.

May I suggest EDDC get their priorities in the correct order and save their public from injury – a far more important matter than simply tidying an already charming district of its natural autumn cover of falling leaves?

B D Kennard

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70 Woolbrook Road, Sidmouth