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LGA - Salt stocks are high say councils as big chill set to bite

The Local Government Association's (LGA) annual Winter Readiness Survey shows that councils are well prepared for plummeting temperatures with a substantial stock of grit.

About half are at the limit of storage capacity. Gritters will be out treating thousands of miles of roads whenever overnight temperatures drop below zero in the coming days.

The survey also shows more than 80 per cent of councils have placed community grit bins for residents to access salt for pavements and side streets and 75 per cent are using state-of-the-art GPS technology on the gritting fleets.

Social media will also continue to be an important tool for councils communicating with residents with 97 per cent of councils using Twitter accounts to keep people up-to-date with weather forecasts, road conditions and gritting activity.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Transport spokesman, said: "Councils are fully prepared to protect residents and minimise disruption to their residents caused by the drop in temperatures.

"They are constantly monitoring up-to-the-minute weather reports to make sure they can stay one step ahead of the weather. We are well prepared for the cold with 1.2 million tonnes of salt stockpiled and a fleet of state-of-the-art gritters ready to be deployed.

"As well as gritting our roads and clearing snow, council teams are ready to be drafted in to help provide a variety of services to ensure we are looking out for the more vulnerable members of our communities this winter, from carrying out emergency household repairs to delivering hot meals and portable heaters.

"But council staff can't be everywhere. They rely on community-spirited residents to look out for each other. Just a quick knock on the door of an elderly neighbour who's perhaps too proud or unable to ask for help can make all the difference. They may just need an extra blanket getting down from the loft or perhaps they didn't get out to collect their medicine this week. It takes no time to check in but could potentially save lives.

"Councils will treat as many roads as possible during the cold snap and have also filled thousands of community grit bins and recruited volunteers to help people clear pavements, paths and side streets when needed.

"Local authorities will be constantly updating websites with information on weather, gritting routes, road conditions, school closures and bin collections, and many councils also have gritter Twitter feeds and Facebook pages detailing the latest developments."

Notes

Cold Weather Plan for England

The LGA's Research and Information team conducted an online survey of all highways authorities in England and Wales who carry out winter weather gritting activities (all councils except districts). Findings are from fieldwork which took place between 3 October and 31 October 2016 with a response rate of 47 per cent (81 councils).

The LGA has an online resource called 'Winter watch' which aims to keep member councils, the public and the media abreast of the winter-related work going on in villages, towns and cities across the country. It contains a Q&A on winter issues, services and gritting, the latest LGA press releases, local case studies and other documents related to winter resilience. It can also act as a forum for people to share their views and ideas and is regularly updated.

Highways authorities (county, unitary, metropolitan and London borough councils) are responsible for nine out of every 10 miles of road – about 200,000 miles in England and Wales. The Highways Agency covers motorways and major A roads, while Transport for London covers arterial trunk roads in London.

Winter Weather Survey 2016

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