The public should have access to grit and salt supplies to help clear roads, the transport secretary has suggested as the worst December weather for 19 years continued.
With icy weather warnings in place across much of the country, Philip Hammond (Con) said people should have access to supplies so they can tackle roads and pavements which are not treated by councils.
Forecasters said the prolonged cold weather and snowfall is the worst for December since 1981, with the Christmas period also likely to see frost, ice and snow showers.
Severe weather warnings were in place across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humber and East Midlands.
Mr Hammond, left, told BBC Breakfast: “In many cases people would like to have the opportunity to have access to grit and salt supplies so that on roads that are not on the council’s gritting route they can… make the pavements a bit easier, make it a bit easier for them to get out of their driveways.
“People have always dug their way out of their own driveways… and I would encourage people who are able to do that kind of thing to continue doing it for themselves and for neighbours who are perhaps less able to.”
He added that there was no need to call in the Army in England because councils were still able to call contractors if they needed help clearing roads.
Scottish first minister Alex Salmond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Army helped emergency services on Monday and that Edinburgh City Council had requested personnel to help clear roads.
Last night temperatures dropped to -18C at Shap Fell in Cumbria, while Edinburgh saw -15C, and the Manchester area -10C.
Met Office forecaster John Hammond said: “December has got off to a very cold start. The last time we saw prolonged cold weather in December with such low temperatures and this amount of snow fall was 1981.”