Salt shortage warning 09 Feb 2010

Winter weather warning raises salt concerns

As the UK braces itself for the return of wintery weather, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that whilst councils are replenishing salt stocks as fast as possible everyone would need "to carefully manage the way they use salt".

Some councils are also preparing to share grit amongst themselves to make sure there is enough to go around. In the LGA's words supplies are "stretched".

Responding to the report in the Daily Express, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Motorists will have been made extremely nervous by the weather forecast for the coming days, and they’ll be sceptical about local authorities’ abilities to cope with more snow.

"Drivers will be praying lessons have been learnt from the earlier cold snap and that councils have done their utmost to replenish stocks. At least officials are being honest about their state of preparedness. The last thing motorists want to hear is that everything is going to fine, only for highways authorities then to fall short of what they promised.

"Given the chaos which ensued last month, drivers also need to be realistic about their own travel plans and must take into account not only the weather conditions but also the ability of councils to cope with them.”

According to the newspaper report, at the end of January the London borough of Hackney had just 54 tons of salt in reserve, whilst Kent County Council had almost 5,700 tons.

Salt stocks across the country ran so low over the Christmas and New Year period, that the Government's emergency Salt Cell ordered the Highways Agency and councils to cut usage by up to 50%.

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