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Welsh councils working around the clock to deal with the unprecedented weather conditions

05 January 2010

In response to concerns that local authorities in Wales have insufficient supplies of salt to grit roads, WLGA Chief Executive, Steve Thomas said:

“Over the Christmas holiday period, most local authorities have been undertaking extensive gritting runs because of the poor weather conditions. Thousands of tonnes of grit have been spread across Welsh roads which have been kept open because of this huge effort. This unprecedented scale of continuous salting and gritting has severely diminished stocks with stockpiles as low as 2-3 days in some council depots. With these treacherous weather conditions set to continue, it is presenting huge challenges for all councils.

“Despite some media reports there are no substantial reserves of salt in any parts of Wales and councils are largely reliant on deliveries from the Salt Union plant at Winsford in Cheshire. This plant is working at capacity but with the cold spell looking set to continue the reality is that there could be problems in matching supply with demand over the forthcoming period. The extended cold spell could mean that in many local authority areas the salting of secondary routes will need to be restricted to ensure that primary routes are kept open with the stock that is available. At the same time, matching the capacity of hauliers and salt suppliers to continue to reach council depots to restock them is also dependent on weather conditions and logistics.

“Ensuring public safety is of paramount importance to every Welsh council and they are doing everything they can to keep Wales on the move. Local authority gritting teams are working around the clock to keep roads open and safe and to ensure public safety.

“We urge the public to take extra precaution when travelling during this period, either by car or foot as there is a possibility that side streets and cul de sacs will remain frozen as a result of not enough stock being available to restock salt bins.

“The WLGA is continuing to monitor the situation and is undertaking a daily survey of local authority salt supplies based on updated stock information as well as working closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that salt is delivered to where it is most urgently needed and to ensure key routes are kept open. Where possible, councils are also instituting mutual aid with other local authorities and the trunk road agencies in Wales to share supplies.”

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