The Local Government Association (LGA) has published the results of its annual winter readiness survey which show that councils had stockpiled 1.4 million tonnes of gritting salt at the end of October – up from 1.3 million tonnes in 2012.
The LGA carried out an online survey of all highways authorities in England and Wales who carry out winter weather gritting activities (all councils except districts). Other key findings include:
- 68% of councils aimed to have the same amount of salt in stock for this year’s gritting season with 27% aiming to have more
- 46% of councils had purchased full-sized gritters in the past year
- 77% of councils will use GPS on their fleet to help them manage their gritting activity and 77% are using community grit bins so members of the public can access salt
- 89% of councils will be using Twitter to communicate with residents – up from 56% in 2012.
Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s economy and transport board, said: “Councils play a vital role in keeping the country moving during bad weather and have worked hard to minimise disruption caused by the storms which have dominated winter so far this year. We may not have seen widespread snow and ice yet but councils are as prepared as ever if the cold weather arrives with 1.4 million tonnes of salt stockpiled.
“Councils will treat as many roads as possible and have also filled thousands of community grit bins and recruited volunteers to help people clear pavements, paths and side streets when needed.
“While councils are confident about coping with adverse weather, there is a real concern about the damage another harsh winter or continued extreme flooding could have on our road network. This is coupled with the government’s own traffic projections predicting an increase in local traffic of more than 40% by 2040.
“Such an increase would mean there is an even greater need for increased and consistent funding to invest in the widespread resurfacing projects which our dilapidated network desperately needs if we’re to see a long-term improvement and to avoid large-scale disruptions becoming unavoidable.”