Norfolk County Council announces top priority gritting routes should weather deteriorate

NORFOLK County Council has today published this map showing the top priority gritting routes that would still be treated if the weather deteriorates before the Government allows an increase in salt supplies. The Government has asked councils to cut the am

NORFOLK County Council has today published this map showing the top priority gritting routes that would still be treated if the weather deteriorates before the Government allows an increase in salt supplies.

The Government has asked councils to cut the amount of road salt they use by 50 per cent compared to last week.

At the moment, stock conservation measures taken by Norfolk County Council are already achieving this reduction while continuing to treat 1,900 miles of priority 1 and 2 routes.

Another bout of severe winter weather with heavy snowfall would force the council to switch to treating around 1,000 miles of top priority routes only.

These would include all county 'A' roads and most 'B' roads, but would not include some of the access roads into villages that have been regularly treated over the winter so far.

Adrian Gunson, Cabinet member for planning & transportation, said: "So far we have been able to cut back on our salt use, as required by the Government, by carefully managing the amount we use and timing our gritting runs for maximum effect. This has been possible because the weather has eased slightly.

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"If we have a return of the extreme temperatures and snow of last week we will have to put more salt down to have any significant effect. We would then have to reduce the total mileage treated with salt to stay within the Government's 50 per cent reduction target.

"We would very much prefer not to have to do this because people have become familiar with the routes that are regularly treated in Norfolk.

"However, given the national shortage of salt and the demands placed on us by the Government, we have to prepare for the worst, so we are planning ahead and publishing maps showing which top priority roads, including access to vital services such as hospitals, will still be covered if we have to cut back to a reduced network.

"For roads we are no longer able to treat with salt, if snow is lying we plan to treat with gritting sand to improve their condition for motorists - as we have on some of the minor road network already this winter."

• Towards the end of this week there is the chance that rain and milder weather will sweep across Norfolk, bringing a rapid thaw of remaining snow, but also a risk of roads becoming icy on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

A county council spokesman said: "Should the weather conditions force the county council to restrict treatment to the new top priority network, the public will be informed as soon as possible.

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