Council rations: rubbing salt in the wound

Roads Not Salted

Roads Not Salted

It appears that councils have underprepared for the demand in salt supplies this year as treacherous road conditions continue.

Councils have ordered less road salt than last year, despite similar conditions emerging following last year’s big freeze. 1.48 million tonnes was ordered for 2010/11 in comparison to the 1.51 million in 2009/10, the Taxpayers Alliance have revealed.

Their response of rationing the grit distributions has led to ice-rink conditions on the roads, which we can expect to continue as the next delivery not due until mid January.

A combination of the early flippant attitude to the distribution of the salt, along with recent budget cuts means that many routes will ground to a halt in the following days, despite similar mistakes being made in previous years.

Admitting to using up almost half of the winter supply of salt already, highway chiefs say drivers will face treacherous road conditions for the rest of the winter.

Manager of Wiltshire Council’s highways department said “We haven’t even got to Christmas yet, we still have the rest of January and February to go.

“We’re going to have to be cautious in our approach. We will put down salt sufficient to do the job, but not too much.”

Councils are being forced to resort to delve into an emergency grit stockpile created after last year’s crisis seeing supplies coming close to exhaustion.

Paul Wattis, the AA’s head of road policy said “One of the problems is there is not enough grit being put on the major roads. Councils and the Highways Agency should be more concerned about road safety than conserving supplies.”

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