Road gritting may suffer if cold weather persists

Jon WelchCouncil road bosses are warning they may have they may to cut the number of miles of road they grit by almost half if cold weather persists.The move would mean limited salt stocks were reserved for major roads and many village roads that have been regularly treated so far this winter would no longer be gritted.Jon Welch

Council road bosses are warning they may have to cut the number of miles of road they grit by almost half if cold weather persists.

The move would mean limited salt stocks being reserved for major roads, and many village roads that have been regularly treated so far this winter no longer being gritted.

Norfolk County Council said it was already complying with government orders to cut the amount of road salt used by 50pc but had not reduced the number of road miles being treated.

It said it was still managing to treat 1,900 miles of priority routes by reducing the number of salting runs and carefully timing those that do take place, and by cutting back on spreading rates and switching to sand for treating icy pavements and for restocking grit bins.

But it said another bout of severe winter weather with heavy snowfall would mean it could only treat about 1,000 miles of top priority routes, including all of the county's A roads and most of its B roads, but not many roads into and out of villages.

It has now published a map showing these routes.

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Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and 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. 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 50pc 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 tomorrow night and Sunday morning.

The council said that if weather conditions forced it to switch to the new gritting programme, it would inform the public as soon as possible via the local media.

You can see the map at

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