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Warning of road salt challenge

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The government and highway authorities “may find it challenging” to meet road salt requirements for the rest of the winter, a Whitehall-commissioned report has said.

David Quarmby’s report also called for better information to be given to rail passengers during winter disruption to services. Mr Quarmby also said there was “an opportunity” for more to be spent by transport operators to combat severe conditions.

Speaking as he launched his report, Mr Quarmby said: “We are all struggling but maybe businesses and the government will make a decision to up (the level) of resources.

“These are policy decisions that have to be made by our elected representatives and not be me.”

At transport secretary Philip Hammond’s request, Mr Quarmby was reporting on how transport systems in England coped with the bout of bad weather between 24 November 24 and 9 December this year - but he said his report was equally relevant to the most recent severe conditions.

The report said: “The use of road salt has been high so far. In spite of record salt stocks and the new national strategic reserve, government and highway authorities may find it challenging to meet requirements for the rest of the winter.

“To ease the large demand for road salt, a priority should be making the guidance on lower spread rates produced by the national winter service research group available to all authorities urgently in an easily accessible format.” 

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