Norfolk-bound salt sent to other parts of the UK

Sarah HallA warning has been issued that the amount of salt used on Norfolk's roads could be restricted as supplies have been redirected to other parts of the country.Sarah Hall

A warning has been issued that the amount of salt used on Norfolk's roads could be restricted as supplies have been redirected to other parts of the country.

Officials from Norfolk County Council have announced that they are reviewing its road salting network after salt ordered for the Norfolk began to be re-allocated by the government to other parts of the UK in the greatest need of new supplies.

The government decision to invoke the so-called Salt Cell on Wednesday means that daily supplies pre-ordered for Norfolk are now being sent to other parts of the country.

The news comes as forecasters warn there could be up to six inches of snow in the county on Sunday.

Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: 'There is no doubt that by taking a precautionary approach and putting a long-term strategic agreement in place with Salt Union, Norfolk has so far continued to receive more reliable deliveries and has higher stocks of salt than many other parts of the country.

'That has meant that our crews have continued to salt 1,900 miles of our roads night and day since the cold snap began before Christmas, and while we have spent more than �1.2 m in the process, I think Norfolk residents have generally been very grateful for the tremendous and successful efforts made by our crews to keep the roads open in what have been truly exceptional circumstances.

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'The Government has now intervened at a national level to help councils whose position on salt stocks is not as healthy as our own and supplies earmarked for Norfolk are now being diverted to other areas.

'While this is clearly frustrating, I think we have to recognise this is an unprecedented situation and that other parts of the country are in a much worse situation than our own.

'We are watching matters closely but if this bad weather continues we will soon need to reduce the mileage of the roads we salt. I regret this, but the situation is totally out of our hands.'

Meanwhile, there were heavy snow showers in Norwich this morning and, although blue skies have currently opened up above the city, forecasters have warned the reprieve could be brief.

Phil Garner, forecaster from University of East Anglia-based Weatherquest, said: 'There's plenty of ice around. Temperatures across the county this morning were between -3C and -6C.

'We are starting to see snow showers feeding in from the north, with the majority of them to the west of Norwich. If you drew a line from Norwich to King's Lynn and up to Brancaster that's where most of the snow is this morning.'

He said, while not all parts of the county would see snow today, the east side of the county could see more snow later today, possibly as much as four to six centimetres in places.

Mr Garner said top temperatures today will be zero to 1C and said there could be more isolated snow showers in the afternoon and evening, with temperatures as low as -7C.

He said there would be lighter snow showers tomorrow with a 'raw' north-easterly wind, while Sunday could see a return of heavy snow.

Roads remained icy this morning and traffic was moving slowly.

Gritting teams from Norfolk County Council had been out twice by 8am and although CityCare was able to make some refuse collections this morning, it has since had to cancel collections for the rest of the day due to the snowfall earlier making road conditions unsafe.

Police have issued a warning to motorists to drive sensibly.

PC James Waller, from Norfolk Constabulary's driver training unit, said if people really had to drive, they should allow extra time and be very careful.

He said: 'The main advice, which is in the Highway Code, is to check forecasts and conditions and not drive unless it is essential. If you do venture out then allow more time for your journey.

'You need to take de-icer, an ice scraper, a torch, warm clothing, boots, warm drinks and emergency food.'

PC Waller said people should try to drive in as high a gear as possible, to give the vehicle more traction and warned people to keep a lengthy distance from other cars.

Meanwhile, at Whitlingham Country Park people were walking out over the Great and Little Broads, despite signs warning them not to do so.

Russell Wilson, park manager, said: 'This is dangerous and irresponsible behaviour and people are putting their lives, and those of others, at risk.

'While we invite everyone to enjoy Whitlingham, which is like a winter wonderland in the snow, we advise them not to venture on the ice as we don't know how safe it is.

'The water is obviously icy cold and people can die of hypothermia very quickly or drown if they are caught under the ice. Please keep your dogs under control too and don't go after them if they stray on to the ice.'

On the trains, First Capital Connect services from King's Lynn to London King's Cross were down to one and hour, while a number of bus routes were affected with some delays and cancellations. Konectbus was unable to service Barnham Broom, Wicklewood, Brisley, Great Ryburgh or Sandy Lane in Dereham.

Flights from Norwich International Airport were temporarily delayed while snow was cleared from the runway but services have since resumed.