National salt shortages force gritting cutbacks in Hunts
NATIONAL salt shortages have forced Cambridgeshire County Council to cut back on treating icy roads, meaning only A roads and priority B roads will be gritted. With temperatures set to remain around the freezing mark and more snow showers predicted for th
NATIONAL salt shortages have forced Cambridgeshire County Council to cut back on treating icy roads, meaning only A roads and priority B roads will be gritted.
With temperatures set to remain around the freezing mark and more snow showers predicted for the county, salt supplies are being diverted to local authorities that are on the verge of running out.
CCC started the winter with around 9,000 tonnes of rock salt - an increase of nearly 50 per cent on previous years, ensuring that its storage facilities were filled to capacity.
Only last week, as reported by The Hunts Post, the council was optimistic it would be able to continue with its gritting plan as its rocksalt stocks were adequate.
However, with supplies running low elsewhere in the country, the Government has launched a salt rationing system, giving priority to authorities where stocks are running out.
With Cambridgeshire's salt deliveries being sent elsewhere, the county council has had to review its gritting operation.
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In line with neighbouring authorities, such as Bedfordshire, the county's gritters will now grit only A roads, a priority network of B routes, waterside roads and routes to hospitals.
CCC has said this policy, which came into force on Monday (January 11) will continue until sufficient salt supplies can be secured.
Mark Kemp, director of highways and access, said: "Like many local authorities across the country we need to manage our rock salt stocks carefully so that we can grit as much as possible.
"Nationally, a system is in place that means deliveries of rock salt are now going to more badly-hit authorities. This means we can no longer rely on those deliveries and have to prioritise the routes we do to make sure we have enough salt to keep people on the move while at the same time last until we get more stocks."
The Government has also ordered local authorities cut the amount of rock salt they spread by 25 per cent to help conserve supplies.
On Monday the county had about 800 tonnes of rock salt remaining after supplies expected to arrive over the weekend did not materialise.
The council said it was actively looking for new supplies.
Drivers are also being asked to take extra care and to remember that some roads that would previously have been gritted might now not be treated.
Mr Kemp added: "Road safety is paramount to us, which is why we are also making sure waterside roads are included in the revised runs.
"This is a difficult decision but with only four or five days of gritting left, uncertainty of delivery and an uncertain weather forecast we have to take these practical steps.