Councils boost grit stockpile ahead of freeze in Wales
Published: 25th Nov 2010 07:07:24
Councils across Wales insist they have learned lessons from last winter's snow when road salt supplies ran low.
With snow forecast for some parts of Wales, most councils say they have enough grit to treat roads for 12 days continuously.
The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) says it is also trying to source 10,000 tonnes of rock salt from Sweden.
But the AA warned that councils were cautious about gritting now because the cold weather had arrived so early.
Paul Watters, the AA head of roads policy, said: "Even though they are improving their stocks, they are nervous about putting it down - this cold snap has come right at the start."
Snow last January and February made it the worst winter weather in 30 years and led some councils to cut their gritting programme as supplies ran low.
This year they are recommended to store enough rock salt to grit for 12 days continuously, double last year's minimum.
Even though they are improving their stocks, they are nervous about putting it down - this cold snap has come right at the start”
Mr Watters said: "This is redressing the balance back to normal winters - everyone agreed that we were caught out over the last two.
"I think everyone is very nervous about it this year. The irony is that if it does turn mild, then any nervousness might be washed away."
Most of the councils contacted by BBC Wales said they had upgraded their winter maintenance plan following a review.
Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Powys and Pembrokeshire said they were starting the winter with at least double last year's minimum recommended store.
Wrexham has almost doubled its rock salt stockpile to 7,000 tonnes and said it had enough to last for 70 days or 35 days if the weather turns severe.
Anglesey and Denbighshire are using rock salt coated with molasses as way to extend the life of rocksalt put on their roads.
Denbighshire would need 900 tonnes to carry out 12 days' continuous gritting. It has 7,500 tonnes with a further 1,500 on order and is using the molasses mixture on five of its 12 routes.
Torfaen council was one of the hardest hit last winter. It was down to its last 110 tonnes of rock salt by the end of February, with its two salt barns almost emptied.
It has has 4,000 tonnes of salt in stock, with 2,000 more on order. A 12-day salting run would use 2,520 tonnes of salt.
It has also bought three new weather stations to improve its weather forecasting capabilities for decisions on when and where saltings should be made.
Councils in the south Wales and Gwent valleys say they also have access to a 10,000 tonne capacity salt barn at Ebbw Vale.
Monmouthshire has a stock of 7,500 tonnes with access to 2,000 more from the Ebbw Vale salt barn. It needs 9,000 tonnes for 12 days' gritting.
All the necessary steps have been taken to put local authorities in a much better position going into the winter and all councils are stocked up to a higher level in salt compared to last year”
Swansea said it would have supplies for 12-and-half days' gritting by mid-December for use on 44% of its roads, with another 500 tonnes immediately available from its suppliers.
Bridgend has raised salt stocks by 25% and said it could undertake very heavy salting for at least 20 days.
Newport said its stockpile, enough for 8.8 days' gritting in a snow white out, would be boosted by another 1,500 tonnes by Christmas.
Neath Port Talbot and Anglesey councils did not supply any figures.
The WLGA said: "All the necessary steps have been taken to put local authorities in a much better position going into the winter and all councils are stocked up to a higher level in salt compared to last year.
"Councils have learned the lessons from last year and are geared up for wintry weather conditions."
BBC Wales meteorologist Derek Brockway said Wales was facing bitterly cold weather, starting at the weekend and going well into next week.
He said: "There will be penetrating frosts across the country accompanied by wintry showers, snow in places, with a risk of ice on untreated roads.
"It's going to be very cold over the weekend, with a wind chill.
"It looks like staying bitterly cold next week, with a risk of more significant snow and strong to gale force winds possible."
SOURCE: Local authorities
Figures not supplied
Figures not supplied
2,500 tonnes, 1,000 in reserve and 2,000 on order
Figures not supplied
Figures not supplied
3,000 tonnes with 500-tonne top ups and 3,500-tonne salt barn under construction
11,000 tonnes and 6,500 on order
7,500 tonnes and 1,500 tonnes on order
11,000 tonnes with 2,000 tonnes on order
7,500 tonnes with 1,500 on order
2,300 tonnes, with 300 more on order and 2,000 tonnes at Ebbw Vale salt barn
7,500 tonnes, with 2000 tonnes at Ebbw Vale and 1,000 on order
Neath Port Talbot
Figures not supplied
Figures not supplied
2,200 tonnes with 1,500 tons on order
5,500 tonnes with 1,900 tonnes on order
Rhondda Cynon Taf
3,120 tonnes (estimate)
3,300 tonnes and 500 on order
4,000 tonnes and 2,000 on order
Vale of Glamorgan
4,300 tonnes, with 500 tonnes on order
7,000 tonnes with restocks weekly
At 18:02:27 in EnglandWork is set to begin replacing the sails on England's only surviving eight-sailed windmill.
At 17:59:46 in HeadlinesTurkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered condolences for the first time for the mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule during WWI.
At 17:59:15 in SportHearts midfielder Jamie Hamill is to face a disciplinary hearing after knocking Ross County manager Derek Adams to the ground on Saturday.
At 17:58:44 in EnglandA second man has appeared in court in connection with a shooting outside a takeaway in Nottingham.
At 17:57:42 in SportWorld number one Rafael Nadal recovered from last week's early exit in Monte Carlo with a straight-sets win over Albert Ramos at the Barcelona Open.
At 17:49:03 in EnglandA project has been unveiled to link the UK and French power grids through the Channel Tunnel.
At 17:44:26 in HeadlinesThe Duchess of Cornwall's brother, Mark Shand, has sustained a serious head injury in a fall, Clarence House said.
At 17:40:45 in Northern IrelandA home security company is creating 230 jobs by expanding its operations in the Republic of Ireland.
At 17:35:01 in Northern IrelandA man accused of taking part in a sham marriage had allegedly been involved in a previous fake wedding, the High Court in Belfast has been told.
At 17:25:54 in EnglandA shipment of radioactive waste has arrived in Japan from Cumbria, as part of the ongoing programme of cleaning up the Sellafield site.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Councils boost grit stockpile ahead of freeze in Wales [Online] (Updated 25th Nov 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/110780/Councils-boost-grit-stockpile-ahead-of-freeze-in-Wales [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
A home security company is creating 230 jobs by expanding its operations in the Republic of Ireland.
Mexican writer and journalist Elena Poniatowska has received the most important award for literature in the Spanish language, the Cervantes prize.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Work is set to begin replacing the sails on England's only surviving eight-sailed windmill.
The Scottish government's White Paper on independence does not offer a "radical alternative" to UK policies, a senior adviser to Oxfam has said.
UKIP has said it is "extremely unhappy and concerned" about the name of another Eurosceptic party contesting the forthcoming European elections.