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Roads: Snow and Ice

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what proportion of roads in each region were gritted following snowfall between November 2009 and February 2010. (320297)

The Highways Agency treated the whole of the Strategic Road Network in England throughout the period. Winter service on other roads is the responsibility of each local highway authority and this information is not collected centrally.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department takes to ensure roads are safe for drivers during periods of snowfall. (320298)

The Highways Agency through its service providers implements area-specific winter maintenance plans across the Strategic Road Network throughout the winter period. Snow ploughs are fitted as soon as snow is forecast. Salt is spread both in advance of and during snowfall, supplemented by ploughing as required to ensure that the network remains as safe as reasonably practicable. The agency also provides information and advice to road users using variable message signs, the internet and the media.

Winter service on other roads is the responsibility of each local highway authority. The Department for Transport endorses the winter service guidance provided by the UK Roads Liaison Group in its highways maintenance code of practice, “Well-maintained Highways”. This makes clear that safety is a prime consideration for winter service. My Department wrote to each local authority last year with a leaflet “Are you ready for winter?”, when the winter service guidance was updated, encouraging authorities to review their winter service strategies.