Road chiefs warn over grit stocks

Highway chiefs are warning they have already used almost half their winter stocks of salt.

Councils across the west of England are rationing their grit supplies as forecasters predict the cold weather will continue well past Christmas.

After heavy gritting, Wiltshire Council has used 7,000 tonnes of the 13,700 tonnes it ordered.

Despite bringing in more grit and salt than ever before Wiltshire's head of road services told the Western Daily Press he is concerned about running out of grit.

The council said that in previous years it used about 8,000 tonnes, but last winter it used 11,000 tonnes.

The council is now asking for extra supplies from a national reserve.

Graeme Hay, who is manager of the council's highways department, told the newspaper: "We're 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 sufficient to do the job, but not too much."

Councillor Dick Tonge, the council's cabinet member for highways, said: "I would like to thank staff for their hard work so far and their dedication in continuing to tackle the problems the winter weather is causing.

"We started this year with nearly 14,000 tonnes of salt and we still have more than 7,000 tonnes in stock.

"Winter has started a lot earlier this year and we are managing salt stocks carefully and taking precautions should the Met Office forecast long-term severe weather."

The Somerset highways team has also asked the Government for more grit after using 2,000 tonnes over the last two weeks.

The council, which has used about 3,000 tonnes more salt this year than this time last year, is now down to 1,100 tonnes.

Network manager Geoff Dight said: "It's not good, but it's not panic stations.

"Concern was rising but we were all talking to each other (highways authorities) and hopefully should get through to early January.

"We have just found out that we've been successful in our bid to the Government's resilience stockpile and hope to get 700-800 tonnes week commencing December 27, so we're a lot happier now than we were.

"Whilst we weren't confident, we also weren't overly worried, but it just all depends on the weather and if we get a major snow event."

Somerset Council has stopped treating its secondary road network but said it will still plough these routes during snow conditions.

In Plymouth only major routes are being treated as gritting supplies also begin to run low, but the council has today received a new delivery of salt.

A city council spokeswoman said: "We are pleased to now confirm that 100 tonnes of salt have just been delivered and we are expecting a further 200 tonnes in the next 48 hours.

"This will allow us to continue to grit primary and some secondary routes for the foreseeable future.

"We will continue to liaise with the police on other 'hot spots' that need to be treated and we will aim to treat secondary routes during our morning runs where supplies allow.

"Temperatures are currently forecast to dip as low as -10C in Plymouth tonight and icy conditions will continue so our advice is still to avoid any unnecessary journeys."

Meanwhile, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance councils have ordered less road salt to treat icy roads this year than last year.

The councils have ordered 1.48 million tonnes in 2010/11 compared with just under 1.51 million tonnes in 2009/10, a report by the alliance said.

It added that 75 of the 205 UK councils surveyed had not received all of this year's road salt order.

The alliance also looked at the cost of purchasing emergency supplies of road salt in 2009/10 which came to £10.5 million.

The amount spent varied considerably, with Newcastle Council spending £331,400 on emergency road salt but neighbouring Sunderland not spending anything.

Similarly, Bradford spent £286,000 while Leeds spent £13,400.

But the Local Government Association (LGA) dismissed the TaxPayers' Alliance's claims.

Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board, said the TaxPayers' Alliance research was "flawed" and "nothing more than an attempt to stir up panic".

He said the alliance had compared eight months-worth of salt orders with an entire year's-worth.

Mr Box said: "The simple fact is that councils prepared even better for this winter, and started it with a third more salt stockpiled than last year."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
An Apple iPhone 6 stands on display at the Apple Store
businessRegulators give iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the green light
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Britain's internet habits have been revealed in a new survey
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Randstad Education is recruiting ...

Pricing Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style