[holding answer 9 March 2010]: On 6 January 2010 the Government and the devolved Administrations, with the support of the Local Government Association re-introduced the Salt Cell. Prior to the Salt Cell being re-introduced Ministers and officials were in close contact with Local Government representatives, in particular the Local Government Association, with whom a number of discussions were held throughout the period of severe weather.
The Salt Cell brings together the Department for Transport, the devolved Administrations (in Scotland and Wales), the Highways Agency, the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), Met Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Office. The aim of the Salt Cell is to provide advice to suppliers on priorities for deliveries.
The Salt Cell arrives at its decisions by considering information provided by local authorities on their salt stocks and on weather forecasts provided by the Met Office.
Officials have also had a number of ad hoc discussions with local authorities about specific local issues.