Time is running out to ensure local authorities have sufficient salt supplies for the coming winter, said the Department for Transport (DfT) as a new survey and independent review on supplies are launched.
A DfT spokesman told NCE action must be taken now to avoid prolonged transport disruption due to snowy weather in the coming winter. “We have to be looking at the problem now. We have to think forward,” he said.
“If you work back from September – which is where the low season starts – there are only 60 mining days left.
“There may be a deficit which we have to explore with local authorities.”
The DfT is conducting a new survey of salt re-stocking survey following the completion of a similar survey back in March. The new survey – whose deadline is 4 June – seeks to widen the picture and assess changes since March.
“It could be that the picture could well have changed,” said the spokesperson, citing the repayment of salt that was loaned between councils during heavy snows last year, changes of suppliers and continued use of salt stocks since March.
Following the survey, the DfT will consider whether action is needed to ensure local authorities increase their stocks. “If we have got a serious shortfall then we can start to firm up possible solutions,” he said.
Meanwhile, an independent Winter Resilience Review will seek to identify identify “quick wins” by July to improve transport resilience against snow in the short term.