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Councils told to use grit sparingly

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Councils are being told to use their grit supplies wisely amid fears the big freeze could continue for at least another month.

Local authorities have had plenty of forewarning about the current icy conditions and gritters have been out in force.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said there is enough grit for the capital’s roads even if it snowed all day, every day for the next fortnight.

But despite Britain having more than one million tons of grit stored ready to combat the winter weather this year, ministers have written to councils telling them to reduce the amount they use on their roads.

It comes amid fears that more freezing conditions are set to come and could continue over the next month.

The move will anger many motorists, such as those who were left stranded overnight on the M6 in Greater Manchester after a lorry jackknifed.

But the AA said it estimated there was enough grit for just 20 days more, based on 55,000 tons being used each day during the freezing conditions.

And although local authorities can ask the Department for Transport for more supplies, it would be a costly move, according to sources, who allege the DfT is charging double the normal amount.

This is despite the DfT having two-thirds of its “strategic reserve” of 250,000 tons in place and another 250,000 tons on order from Egypt and Chile.

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