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Authorities pool salt supplies

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Co-operation between councils spared England from worse shortages of gritting salt during the cold snap, the Local Government Association has claimed.

In an LGC interview, Helen Murray, the LGA’s programme director for safer communities, said councils in areas that suffered relatively little snow and ice sold salt to those who came close to running out of supplies.

In an operation spearheaded by Whitehall’s civil contingencies committee, Cobra, representatives of the government, the LGA and the Highways Agency have worked to ensure dwindling supplies reached the areas of greatest need.

“It’s mutual aid. Councils are pooling salt and seeing who needs the most,” Ms Murray said.

Among councils to benefit was Essex County Council , which on Monday received 200 tonnes of rock salt from the Highways Agency.

Ms Murray called for a fresh look at the scope for diversifying the supply of salt, with the country currently too dependent on two companies, Salt Union and Cleveland Potash.

But Ms Murray said it was unlikely to be cost effective for councils to increase their salt storage capability as the current demand was in response to the worst weather in 18 years.

AA president Edmund King on Monday said that salt supplies were “running on empty” in many areas, as a result of supply chain pressures. He said that top priority should be given to motorways and trunk roads.

Latest LGA snow briefing

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