Nearly one in five local authorities has had difficulty securing stocks from road salt suppliers, forcing many to look abroad, a Local Government Association survey has revealed.
According to the research, 78% of councils were looking to increase their stock in anticipation of the level of severe cold weather experienced over the last two winters.
Authorities with low supplies said they were short by an average 1,700 tonnes.
The LGA said an increasing number of councils – around one in ten – were now sourcing their supplies from outside the country.
The figures, which will be published in a full report in November, have raised concerns over the resilience of the salt supply chain as the vast majority of stock is supplied by just two companies.
LGA transport & regeneration board chairman, Peter Box (Lab), said: “The whole country is well aware of the power of mother nature.
“As we go into another winter, a proportion of councils do not have as much salt in their storage facilities as they would like to have because the suppliers haven’t provided all the stock they’ve asked for.
“Although there should be a few weeks’ grace before gritting is necessary on a large scale, it is not ideal that the suppliers are playing catch-up from the word go.”
Last winter’s severe weather led to nationwide salt shortages as councils struggled to keep roads open.
North Yorkshire CC reported needing £10m to fix pot holes left by expanding ice in tarmac, with the gritting bill adding a further £9m.