Leader: ‘Lessons have to be learned by everyone’

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WHEN the Capital fails to cope with just an inch of snow, we automatically question the effectiveness of the gritting and snow-clearing 
operation.

Do we really have to put up with hour-long delays on major routes into the city after such a relatively minor flurry?

The city council has mounted a stout defence of its reaction after widespread complaints from motorists and bus passengers, including its own economic convener, Frank Ross, about the chaos.

The city’s roads department had, after all, been working around-the-clock, it seems, to grit and clear main roads and pavements.

Fresh snow falling on gritted roads just before and during morning rush hour certainly contributed to the delays.

Yet it seems clear that lessons can be learned from the city’s failure to cope with the snow yet again.

We all have a part to play when we are hit by snow, from motorists allowing extra time for our journeys to the road crews who grit through the night.

The council’s duty involves both preparation and communication. Even if there were no shortcomings in the former, then the angry reaction from commuters yesterday suggests there was in the latter, as many were vocal in their criticism of the local authority.

The was one response from the council which did strike a chord with the public though – Councillor Ross’s voicing of his frustration at the delays on the social media site Twitter.

The major disruption may be a sadly familiar tale, but a politician being so open about the apparent failures of his organisation makes a refreshing change. Cllr Ross will certainly have won public credit for that.

Swings & roundabouts

News that the average home in Edinburgh has reduced in value by £200 every week in the past year will be greeted with horror by many commentators. It is, they will say, a further sign of the weakness of the economy and a lack of confidence among housebuyers.

This is true, but only part of the story. House prices will bounce back in the longer term.

For now, a fall in prices is a good thing for many Edinburgh families who are seeking to take a first step on to the ladder.

It is also good for so-called “second steppers” who are desperate to move to larger property but don’t have the finances.