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Roads: Snow and Ice

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency reserves for salt and grit the Highways Agency has; for how many days of adverse weather conditions he estimates such supplies would last; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that supplies are adequate. (255555)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: The Highways Agency, for which the Department for Transport is responsible, operates a routine and winter service regime that requires its service providers to maintain sufficient supplies of salt for the treatment of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) for a continuous period of six capability days.

In the present conditions of continuous severe weather, and the provision of mutual aid to local authorities, enabling them to treat local roads and routes onto and off the SRN, the Highways Agency will aim to have salt supplies for at least three capability days.

Supplies for salt are being replenished by the Highways Agency’s service providers suppliers, but the national demand is placing a strain on availability. The Highways Agency is fully engaged with these suppliers to ensure that supplies are being targeted towards areas of the network that have the highest demand and is itself marshalling its existing supplies of the salt, where this is practical, to ensure the continued availability of the network.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much grit the Highways Agency holds; and how many days use this amount represents. (255660)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: The Highways Agency normally retains supplies of salt that enable treatment of the Strategic Road Network for a continuous period of six capability days.

The volume of this equates to 85,000 cu m.

In the current conditions, the Highways Agency will aim to have supplies for at least three capability days.