Shortage of salt as snow approaches

* AA claims councils short of salt * Accused of 'scaremongering' * Snow forecast for this week...

Shortage of salt as snow approaches

Many local authorities have only enough road salt for six consecutive days of freezing weather, according to the AA.

The AA says that half of all UK local authorities are affected.

Snow and freezing conditions forecast
With weather forecasters predicting snow across the UK from Wednesday, the AA is concerned that local councils have 250,000 tonnes less road salt than they had a decade ago.

The AA said it had been informed of the shortage of road salt by industry sources. The insiders claim that last winter's heavy snowfall had resulted in reduced stock forcing many local councils to 'borrow' road salt from others.

AA president Edmund King said: 'Around 1000 people are killed or seriously injured on snowy and icy roads each winter and hospital casualty departments are often inundated with people who have slipped and fallen.

'We accept that not every road can be treated, but we must do a lot more to keep the wheels of the economy turning in winter emergencies and routine winter weather. That means getting enough salt stocks in place now.'

AA accused of 'scaremongering'
However, the Local Government Association (LGA) accused the AA of 'ridiculous scaremongering'.

Councillor David Sparks of the LGA disputed the AA's claims. He said it was 'ridiculous' for the AA to concentrate only on the amount of salt that was stockpile, claiming that this could be increased within two days and redistributed around the country.

Councillor Sparks said: 'It is ridiculous scaremongering for the AA to suggest that councils are not prepared for prolonged winter weather.

'If the AA thinks the only way councils can ensure they have enough salt is by stockpiling it, it is showing startling ignorance.