CHANGES to gritting Monmouthshire’s roads will not put safety at risk, councillors were told.

Leader of the opposition Labour group on Monmouthshire County Council, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni said he had been “scared” to read a council report that there would be no precautionary pre-salting of the county’s roads during the winter.

But Roger Hoggins, the head of country operations – which is responsible for roads – said the change was to prevent unnecessary gritting runs.

The change in policy will save the council around £20,000 and is one of a number of initiatives across the authority and detailed into a report to the Cabinet.

The changes are aimed at dealing with a £1million overspend.

Cllr Batrouni (Lab, St Christopher’s) said: “I’m quite concerned about not having pre-salting. That scared me to be honest.

“Let’s hope we have a mild winter.”

Mr Hoggins said the gritters are sent out in response to temperatures taken in the afternoon.

He said: “There are occasions when we take readings in the afternoon and the temperature rises.

“What we will do is take readings later in the afternoon and delay gritting.

“It will save us some runs because we have found ourselves gritting when it is unnecessary.

“This will still be safe – we are just delaying the decision.

“The weather does play a part in this budget in winter.

“Our intention is to maintain the service at the present level but we will be reviewing that.

“It relates to how many days or weeks it goes on for – how much frost, flooding and snow we have.”