CAMBRIDGESHIRE GOES INTO PRIORITY MOOD AS ROCK SALT SHORTAGE HITS HOME

PUBLISHED: 17:44 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:53 02 June 2010

gritters in thr March CCC base, Hostmoor
Rod Marshall,Richard lawes
Roger Foeniger

gritters in thr March CCC base, Hostmoor Rod Marshall,Richard lawes Roger Foeniger

DEVON County Council has sold 500 tonnes of salt to Cambridgeshire County Council to ease the current crisis but it has not been enough to halt a rationing system that will lead to a county wide review of gritting. Cambridgeshire County Council announced

DEVON County Council has sold 500 tonnes of salt to Cambridgeshire County Council to ease the current crisis but it has not been enough to halt a rationing system that will lead to a county wide review of gritting.

Cambridgeshire County Council announced tonight it will now grit 'A' roads and a priority network of 'B' roads as well as waterside roads, such as those next to drains in the Fens and hospital access. This will continue until sufficient new deliveries of rock salt can be secured.

It has been a record year for Cambridgeshire in terms of its gritting operation. So far Cambridgeshire County Council's fleet of 36 gritters have been out 67 times since October, more than double the number of times at this point last year and matching the most the Council has ever gritted in a year. Since last Sunday gritters have been out 12 times in a week with dedicated crews driving and filling the gritters working around the clock.

Having already started earlier than ever before Cambridgeshire has put more than 12,000 tonnes of salt on the roads and has spent already more than £1.3 million to grit this year.

A list of what is being gritted can be found on Cambridgeshire County Council's website at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk . The routes which are normally treated but are now not being gritted will also be on the site from tomorrow. Drivers are being asked to take extra care during these times and not to expect all the roads that would normally be gritted to be treated. In addition they are asked to watch out for pot holes that are occurring as a result of the freeze and thaw action of the weather.

A council spokesman said: "There are only two national suppliers of rock salt who are trying to meet the needs of authorities across the country, and sources in other countries are also being used.

"The county council, like all other authorities, is now part of a new national system that has just been set up to make sure authorities running low are prioritised. This means that deliveries that would normally come to Cambridgeshire are being sent to councils which have nearly run out."

Due to the national shortage gritting had been carried out on the normal routes but not the secondary ones, which are only usually done in emergency or prolonged periods of bad weather. This means that cycle routes and paths are not being gritted, unless next to a gritted road. This is to avoid running stocks down so low that it would impact on gritting the roads countywide.

Mark Kemp, Director of Highways and Access, for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Like the almost every authority across the country we are having to carefully manage our rock salt stocks so that we can grit as much as possible.

"A new system has been put in place where the limited deliveries we were getting are now going to more badly hit authorities. This means we can no longer rely on those deliveries and have to prioritise the routes we do to make sure we have enough salt to keep people on the move while at the same time last until we get more stocks.

" People must drive and ride to the conditions and not expects roads which are normally treated to have been gritted. This is a difficult decision but with only three to four days of gritting left, uncertainty of delivery and an uncertain weather forecast we have to take these practical steps. The recent poor weather has also resulted in pot holes appearing in the network and these will need to be addressed once the current period of bad weather is over."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Matt Bradney, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: "I have announced we will be reviewing what we have been doing and I am more than willing to help Government look at the national picture to bring forward improvements we can all benefit from. Well gritted paths and roads mean safer and more prosperous communities.


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