LGA - Councils ready for winter with 1.4 million tonnes of salt stockpiled

27 Nov 2018 08:52 AM

Councils are prepared for the worst of winter’s freezing temperatures with 1.4 million tonnes of salt stockpiled and hi-tech gritters and street cleaning teams ready to keep roads safe.

The Local Government Association’s annual Winter Readiness Survey reveals how councils have prepared for the upcoming big freeze and any flooding this winter, with 94 per cent having either more salt in stock for this year, or the same level as they did last year.

As well as an abundance of salt stockpiled, each council has an average of nine full-size gritters, alongside other equipment.

Council leaders are also reminding households to show extra vigilance and ensure vulnerable friends, neighbours and relatives are safe when the big freeze bites.

With freezing temperatures forecast, highway teams are monitoring state-of-the-art weather forecasts with highly-trained staff on standby around the clock and some already deployed to grit thousands of miles of roads whenever temperatures plummet.

To cope with ongoing funding pressures and limited resources, more than half (55 per cent) of councils will share salt stocks, 30 per cent will share gritting machinery, and one in five (22 per cent) plan to team up across their boundaries to send staff to key locations.

In addition to gritting roads and clearing snow drifts, councils will be looking out for the more vulnerable members of their communities this winter. Local teams will assist the elderly and vulnerable in their communities, from delivering hot meals to carrying out emergency household repairs and providing heating.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Transport spokesman, said:

“Councils are well prepared for the onset of winter and the sharp drop in temperatures, with an abundance of salt stockpiled.

“Winter preparation is a key priority for councils, despite ongoing funding pressures and competing demands on their limited resources. Across the country, local authorities have again risen to the challenge and already put measures in place to protect their residents from floods, ice, and wintry conditions.

“Councils are constantly monitoring the weather, with up-to-the-minute reports to stay one step ahead. Depots are filled with 1.4 million tonnes of salt and gritters are ready to be deployed instantly to make sure our local roads are clear and open to our residents where possible.

“As always, council teams will also spend the winter months checking in on elderly and vulnerable residents to make sure they are well and coping, and we encourage communities to spare a bit of time looking out for each other. This could be a simple knock at the door to check on an elderly neighbour, or helping to carry out emergency repairs, because everyone has a role to play to keep each other safe this winter.”

The LGA survey, of highway council bosses across England and Wales, also finds:

Local authorities will be constantly updating websites and social media throughout the winter with information on weather, road conditions, school closures and gritting routes.

Case studies


  1. The Met Office has tips, advice and a checklist to help communities and their residents get “Winter Weather Ready” – read more here.
  2. The Local Government Association Research and Information team conducted a survey between the 8th and 30th October 2018 to gather information about local authorities’ plans and preparations in case of severe weather. The survey was sent to all 171 highways authorities in England and Wales in membership of the LGA. 86 councils (50 per cent) responded. All figures quoted above are based on respondent councils only. The full survey is available on request.
  3. Find out more about councils’ winter weather response at the LGA’s severe weather online hub.
  4. It is estimated that local authorities aimed to have 1.4 million tonnes of salt in stock at October 2018.