Grit supplies 'not meeting demand'

Suppliers of road-gritting salt are struggling to meet the "unprecedented" demand from local councils stocking up for this winter.

Nearly a fifth (18%) of councils have not yet received all the salt they ordered and face an average shortfall of 1,700 tonnes each, according to a survey by the Local Government Association.

More than three-quarters of local authorities in England and Wales are hoping to increase their salt stocks this year in a bid to avoid the shortages of the past two winters. The remaining intend to have the same amount of reserves they had last year.

Around 10% of the councils were looking at foreign sources for supplying the salt, the poll found.

LGA economy and transport board chairman, Councillor Peter Box, said: "As we go into another winter, a proportion of councils do not have as much salt in their storage facilities as they would like to have because the suppliers haven't provided all the stock they've asked for."

He added: "Councils all over the country are responding to this by setting up more arrangements with neighbouring councils to co-operate on supplies, and have looked into foreign sources of road salt."

A spokesman for gritting supplier Salt Union said: "Following two severe winters, many councils have recognised the need to hold greater salt stocks and so demand has been unprecedented.

"As such, Salt Union has mined seven days a week since December 2009 and we've been in constant communication with local authority customers and other stakeholders, including the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency."

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