A little local trouble A weekly round-up of rural rows

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As Britain suffered from Arctic winds and up to 15 inches of snow, Shropshire Council announced plans to slash its gritting budget by a fifth in 1996/7. This means that the council will be able to salt just 200 miles of the county's roads, compared with 1,200 miles this year. Chief engineer Mr Gary Glover said: "It will increase the danger to people using the roads, which the council recognises, but it's in such a terrible situation generally that it has opted to support schools and social services instead."

The proposals did not go down well with the local NFU director, Bob Foster. He said: "Obviously our members are extremely concerned. They have businesses to run. The rural roads are the life line for farming and agricultural related businesses."