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Monday, November 12, 2012

More road salt available this winter, says Minister

Minister for Local Government and Communities Carl Sargeant has confirmed that Wales will start this winter with higher levels of road salt stocks than ever before.
Working in close collaboration with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) the Minister outlined that there is currently 243,000 tonnes of salt in stock in Wales - compared with 137,000 tonnes at the same time in 2010.
The Welsh Government has already established additional storage facilities at Blaenau Ffestiniog in Gwynedd, Queensferry in Flintshire and Merthyr Tydfil.

Further facilities will come on line this season at Llanidloes and North Wales which will bring the total additional resilience storage Welsh Government will have created since 2010 to approximately 40,000 tonnes.

Mr Sargeant said: "Everybody appreciates that the winter weather in Wales can be unpredictable.

"Last winter, which was relatively mild, followed two severe winters with the combination of extremely low temperatures and widespread snowfall causing disruption to services across the country.

"The Welsh Government and the WLGA have continued to work closely throughout the year to ensure that there are sufficient salt stocks available across the country at the start of the winter maintenance season.

"This will ensure that we’re fully self sufficient throughout the winter period without the need to re-stock or introduce salt conservation measures.”

The self sufficient figure of 270,000 tonnes is greater than the 200,000 tonnes of salt that was used per year during the adverse winters of 2010/11 and 2009/10.

Guidance and advice has also been issued to authorities on the efficient use of salt in ensuring treatment methods are timely, proportionate and effective in addressing conditions whilst minimising wastage.

The WLGA’s spokesperson for highways, infrastructure and transport, Councillor Anthony Christopher, said: “Local authorities have worked collaboratively on the issue of salt stocks and have agreed on each authority maintaining stock levels that should meet their own needs through the winter.

"Alongside the Welsh Government’s strategic stock holdings and mutual aid agreements between authorities this also gives us greater resilience at a national level. We believe we enter the winter period well-prepared, although any prolonged periods of snow inevitably results in stock holdings running down quickly.

"Ongoing discussions with the main suppliers to Welsh authorities have been aimed at ensuring restocking takes place in an orderly way over the winter period.”

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