Transport Secretary: 'Public should access grit and salt'

The public should have access to grit and salt supplies to help clear roads, the Transport Secretary suggested today as the worst December weather for 19 years continued.

With icy weather warnings in place across much of the country, Philip Hammond said people should have access to supplies so they can tackle roads and pavements which are not treated by councils.



Forecasters said the prolonged cold weather and snowfall is the worst for December since 1981, with the Christmas period also likely to see frost, ice and snow showers.



Severe weather warnings were in place across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humber and East Midlands.



Mr Hammond told BBC Breakfast: "In many cases people would like to have the opportunity to have access to grit and salt supplies so that on roads that are not on the council's gritting route they can... make the pavements a bit easier, make it a bit easier for them to get out of their driveways.



"People have always dug their way out of their own driveways... and I would encourage people who are able to do that kind of thing to continue doing it for themselves and for neighbours who are perhaps less able to."



He added that there was no need to call in the Army in England because councils were still able to call contractors if they needed help clearing roads.



Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the Army helped emergency services on Monday and that Edinburgh Council had requested personnel to help clear roads.



Last night temperatures dropped to minus 18C at Shap Fell in Cumbria, while Edinburgh saw minus 15C, and the Manchester area minus 10C.



Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: "December has got off to a very cold start. The last time we saw prolonged cold weather in December with such low temperatures and this amount of snow fall was 1981."



Temperatures will drop beyond minus 10C again tonight in parts of Scotland and the North East, with the mercury across the country dipping below zero.



Motorists were warned to watch out for ice on untreated roads.



The forecaster continued: "Tomorrow temperatures will start to creep up above freezing, with 3-5C in a number of areas. It will be a fine, dry day for many.



"There will be something of a recovery of the course of the weekend with 7/8C in some places. We haven't seen those sorts of temperatures for a while.



"But overnight temperatures will still be quite low and ice will still be a problem, especially in the mornings.



"Next week the north easterly winds will bring in the cold weather once more with an increasing risk of snow showers, especially in northern and eastern parts of the UK.



"It's going to stay cold for much of the rest of the month with widespread risk of ice, frost and snow showers."



Last night hundreds of cars were stranded on snowbound roads for a second night as temperatures plunged towards minus 20C.



Drivers across central Scotland had been forced to abandon their vehicles after the wintry weather brought the country's busiest highways to a halt.



Transport Scotland advised drivers in the country's central belt to make only "essential journeys" today.



The agency said "significant" overnight progress had been made towards reopening those parts of the network still affected by the conditions, but the westbound M8 between junctions one to five remained closed.



As the big freeze kept its grip on the country, more than 100 vehicles were also trapped on an exposed route in North Yorkshire last night when a sudden heavy snow shower came in.



Police said all the cars stuck on the A171 near Whitby were released overnight in a joint operation between officers and snow ploughs.



A North Yorkshire force spokesman said there were no injuries and all the drivers "were recovered without incident".



The weather was also causing delays and cancellations across the train network, and airports including Glasgow and Edinburgh were warning of possible delays to flights.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London