By Cara Sulieman
SCOTS fed up with treacherous road conditions are taking to the internet to vent their anger.
Hundreds of Facebook groups have been set up in protest to the lack of grit across the country – with many encouraging users to refuse to pay their council tax until the streets are save again.
And four Scottish councils have been specifically targeted, with individual groups set up for Aberdeen City Council, West Lothian Council, Fife Council and Midlothian Council.
All four are named ‘Tax Payers for Gritted Roads and Grit Bins With Grit’ – and are calling on the council to sort out the problems caused by weeks of heavy snowfall across the country.
West Lothian Council’s page has the most members, with 1281 angry residents adding their stories and pictures to the site.
The creator of the group, Karen Chapman, wrote: “Are you sick of the council failing to grit your street and fill your grit bins?
“Then join this group to show your disgust at the lack of service we have had.”
And many of the members have written about the effect the snow and ice has had on their local area.
Carol Collins said: “Three neighbours, two elderly, have fallen in my street and have had to have hospital treatment and a daily essential morning trip to the hospital on untreated main roads over the past two weeks.
“Community spirit has been wonderful though – everyone has been helping everyone else.”
Many people are also suggesting that residents withhold their council tax for January until the roads are clear.
Tracy Adams said: “I wonder how quick the council would be if we didn’t pay our council tax?”
And many other groups are suggesting the same, with one names No Grit = No Council Tax.
It comes as Scotland battles against the elements for a third week, with snowfall bringing roads to a halt and closing schools.
At the moment, Facebook and other social networking sites are the only way people can vent their anger towards many of Scotland’s councils online.
But a petition has been submitted to the Scottish Parliament asking for them to make local authorities set up their own online petition system.
With Stirling, Renfrewshire and East Lothian council’s already operating a petition process; David Park has asked that it be made compulsory for every authority.
He said: “The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 will require local authorities in England to introduce a petitions process within each local authority area along with e-petitions systems.
“Why not here?
“It is my belief that a local authority petitions process will enhance the democratic process at a local level and enable local citizens raise issues of concern directly with elected Members.”
The idea has been praised by Fergus Cochrane, the Clerk of the committee, who wrote on their blog: “Interesting petition just posted up on our e-petition site which is calling for the introduction by local authorities of locally based public petitioning processes. Perhaps modelled on the system we operate here in the Parliament?
“This would allow people at a very local level to take forward petitions on more local issues and have them considered. As the national parliament, petitions here must have a national aspect to them.”
It will be considered by the Scottish Parliament Public Petition Committee on January 26.