Rural areas feeling left out in the cold as winter continues to bite

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Winter gritting plannners need to account for rural schools and other vital services, according to Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan

“Once again the worst of the winter is having a negative impact on the ability of rural dwellers accessing schools and other vital services,” he said after overnight snowfall caused havoc across the north coast on Friday.

“I was over at St Patrick’s Primary School in Loughgiel this week after being contacted by a number of parents about the treacherous condition of the Shelton Road to the school.

“As the Shelton Road isn’t on the gritting schedule it becomes unsafe for parents and children alike in icy conditions.

“It’s the same story for many of our schools across North Antrim many of which are in rural and isolated locations. School buses are also unable to pick up many children and get them to their schools.

“This is the case from The Glens right up through North Antrim to Ballymena. I feel that access to vital services needs to be a consideration when deciding which roads are to be gritted.

“I understand that the main routes need to prioritised but once they are safe and passable I think rural roads should also be gritted.

“I have once again made this request for these roads to be treated to the Department.”