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Roads: Snow and Ice

Volume 504: debated on Friday 29 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what criteria were used to determine the distribution of salt during the recent severe weather conditions; and if he will make a statement. (313931)

Recommendations to salt producers by the Salt Cell on prioritisation of deliveries take into account highways authorities' existing stocks; recommended reductions in gritting rates; planned deliveries from suppliers and mutual aid between authorities; and forecast weather, three to four days ahead.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many snow ploughs provided by his Department were in operation in Milton Keynes in December 2009 and January 2010. (313948)

The Highways Agency had four salt spreading vehicles equipped with plough-blades that were in operation through Milton Keynes in December 2009 and January 2010. Two of these vehicles operated on the A5 and the other two vehicles on the M1.

Winter service provision on local authority roads is a matter for Milton Keynes Council. The Department for Transport does not provide snow ploughs or other equipment.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent discussions he has had with local authorities in England on the sharing of road salt supplies so as to ensure that the areas worst affected have access to salt. (314400)

The Department for Transport, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government have been regularly monitoring salt supplies and stock levels across Great Britain with the help of their agencies, local authorities and the companies which supply salt. The monitoring involved the Department and Government regional offices having regular discussions with local authorities.

The Government and the devolved Administrations with the support of the Local Government Associations for England, Wales, Transport Scotland and Transport for London decided that due to the exceptional weather they should work in partnership to advise salt suppliers on priorities for deliveries across Great Britain.