Headlines: February 5th, 2009

With further snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures being forecast for many parts of the country local government leaders are warning that some councils are facing shortages of road salt. The Local Government Association said that with council gritters continuing to operate round the clock a number of councils were experiencing shortages because, in some parts of the country, stocks of salt were running low.

The Chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, Paul Bettison, said in some areas temperatures had fallen to as low as -10C and council gritting teams had needed to work flat out to treat roads and pavements for the fourth day and night in a row. “In some parts of the country the prolonged exceptionally cold weather has meant that more grit has been deposited on roads in the last four days than in the whole of last year’s winter,” he said.

Councillor Bettison said supplies of salt and grit had been massively depleted. “Where stocks are running low, councils will work with each other to make sure that everyone has access to enough salt to keep battling the icy and snowy conditions. If that fails to deal with any issue, then councils will talk to the Highways Agency to look for further supplies,” he explained.

There was, though, concern about supplies are drying up due to rationing said Councillor Bettison who cited the example of Hertfordshire County Council. It had used 4,000 tonnes of salt between Sunday and yesterday but its supplier could provide only 160 tonnes more per day. “This will cause some local authorities to focus solely on A and B roads and bus routes rather than the whole network,” he added.