Headlines: January 14th, 2010

Local authorities have denied claims that poor planning is to blame for shortages of salt needed to treat roads in the current bad weather. The Local Government Association said, however, that councils would need to take “tough decisions” on which roads to treat as supplies of salt diminish.

The Transport Secretary Lord Adonis announced on Tuesday that gritting would have to be cut to around half the level of a week ago in an attempt to conserve stocks. The LGA said major routes should be given priority as the cold spell, which is the most severe for 30 years, continues.

A spokesman said there was inevitably a strain on supplies and tough decisions would have to be taken. He added: “Councils will want to ensure that key roads are kept clear so that people can get to hospitals, schools and access services.” He denied that the shortages of salt were a result of poor planning by councils and their failure to learn lessons from last February’s snow falls. “It is clear, now that the cold snap is into its third week and no councils have yet run out of salt, that they were well prepared,” he said.

‘Salt Cell’, the body set up by the Government to advise the salt companies on how to prioritise their deliveries will meet again tomorrow.