Salt stocks halved after ‘record use’

Lincolnshire County Council gritting teams say they have used as much salt so far this year as they did for the whole of the 2007-2008 winter.

The council said it started the winter period with 31,600 tonnes of salt, 8,000 more than usual, and that it has already used 57% of the amount.

On Friday morning, just 13,600 tonnes were left, following days and night of road treatments as the cold snap arrived earlier than usual.

At this stage last year, the county council had made 15 runs and used 3,200 tonnes of salt, but so far this year has made 61 runs and used 18,000 tonnes.

The next shipment of 10,000 tones of salt is due to arrive in early to mid-January.

The County Council spends around £4.5million per year for gritting 3,000km of Lincolnshire’s main routes, and costs this year are believed to be much higher.

Until then, the gritting teams are said to use technology to measure whether any salt is still on the surface from their previous run, avoiding any surplus grit.

County Councillor William Webb said: “We’ll keep on gritting whenever it’s needed – be that 1pm on Christmas Day or Midnight on New Year’s Eve.

“This incredible weather has seen our teams needing to spread considerable quantities of salt across our huge county, successfully keeping our main roads safe and open, and I applaud them for that.

“Through good forward-planning, we had 31,000 tonnes of salt in stock at the start of the winter, compared with the usual 23,000 tonnes, helping us to carry out this first-class service.

“However, with very little rise in temperatures and further snow falling, we have used significantly more salt than in previous years.

“This has been due to the high number of continuous salting days and nights, the additional pavement gritting and the extra re-filling of grit bins,” Webb added.

Highways insist they will still cover their usual 3008km (1869 miles) of Lincolnshire’s main routes, including all A and B-roads, it says drivers need to take even greater care, and self-help on side-streets and pavements is even more crucial.

Source: Lincolnshire County Council