Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Grit fears as road teams in Wales work overtime

Snowman with gritter placard
This photo was sent by Mark Williams of a snowman in Cwmrhydyceirw, Swansea, where the council said grit supplies were "adequate"

Councils in Wales say the sustained cold spell is putting increasing pressure on their supplies of grit and salt.

Many are simply concentrating efforts on keeping the main roads open due to the snow and ice.

The amount each authority has in reserve varies.

But without fresh deliveries which are expected shortly some councils say they only have enough left to last three days.

Anglesey council said it had about three weeks of grit left but was prioritising the main roads.

The council in Bridgend said an "unprecedented scale of continuous salting and gritting has severely diminished our original 3,000 tonnes of salt stocks."

The council said it had sufficient stocks for around 16 days of precautionary salting, but less if the snow continue.

Caerphilly said the last few days had resulted in a "severe drain" on its grit supplies and at current levels it had enough salt for two to three days depending upon the weather.

It said like many other local authorities across Wales it was experiencing difficulties securing new orders from the salt quarries due to the current high level of demand.

In Cardiff, the council said on Thursday evening only principal routes would be gritted.

A4232: Culverhouse Cross to Central Link; Pentwyn Link
A4234: Central Link
B4267: Leckwith Road
A48: Culverhouse Cross roundabout to Newport Road at St Mellons roundabout
A469: Newport Road to Whitchurch Road
A470: Coryton to Boulevard de Nantes
A470: High Street
A470: St Mary Street
A4054: Cardiff Road/Station Road/ Kelston Road/Park Road/ Pendwyalt
A4055: Cogan Spur
A4161: Wellington Street to B4487, Newport Road; St Mellons roundabout
A48: Slip roads to UHW and A&E department
Source: Cardiff council

These included the Culverhouse Cross roundabout and the slip roads to the University Hospital of Wales.

Ceredigion council said temperatures as low as -17°C were recorded across the county earlier on Thursday. It said salt levels were low and it had already had some salt supplies via the Welsh Assembly Government. Council workmen were giving priority to secondary routes to isolated rural communities.

Carmarthenshire council said it was conserving stocks to ensure it could continue to treat the primary routes in the county and had enough stock to cover the next seven days. So far, it has used about 7,925 tonnes (83% of total stock) - more than double the usual amount.

In Conwy, the council has 13 days worth of salt supply, the equivalent of a three-day supply in the event of severe weather and heavy snow.

Denbighshire said it had up to 1,000 tonnes of grit left in depots and had taken delivery of 56 tonnes of salt on Thursday.

Flintshire council said over 400 miles of priority routes were being salted twice a day - just under half of the county's road network.

It said it started the winter with a stock of 5,000 tonnes of salt and if an expected delivery arrives before the end of the day it would have 600 to 700 tonnes left in stock.

In Gwynedd, which includes the Snowdonia Mountain Range, a spokeswoman said the authority's gritting teams had been in action on all but two of the past 28 days.

"Because our rock salt supplier has recently been unable to supply a significant quantity of replacement stocks, Gwynedd, like a significant number of councils throughout the UK, will be concentrating on gritting first priority routes for the time being."

JCB loading grit
The supplies available to councils in Wales vary from county to county

Monmouthshire Council said demand on stocks had been intense.

"We will continue to salt primary routes, but the weather forecast through to Sunday means that we will only be salting twice a day rather than the current three times a day," said a spokesman.

The authority is to discontinue routine salting on non-priority rural routes from Thursday night.

Newport council said its main roads were cleared and workers are trying to get into side roads using shovels where necessary.

It had two lorry loads of salt delivered overnight and currently had sufficient supplies to last through the weekend.

Pembrokeshire, which experienced further snowfall on Thursday, said it was confident it had enough to continue treating the main roads.

The council said it had received a delivery of 50 tonnes of salt from Dragon LNG terminal in Milford Haven which had helped.

Powys council said it had just over 1000 tonnes remaining and was expecting a delivery an additional 450 tonnes in the next few days.

"The delivery will provide up to three days cover depending on use," said a spokesman.

Swansea council described its supplies as "adequate" and said it was receiving deliveries of new supplies every day.

Torfaen council said it had fitted ploughs to its gritting vehicles to clear snow from main routes.

It said due to shortages of salt only those bins in critical areas such as up steep hills were being replenished and if there was further snow at the weekend it would have to consider reducing the number of primary routes it was gritting.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, transport minister, said the assembly government is providing some local authorities with additional salt supplies.

"This means they will now have more salt for use on local roads," he said.

He also said the assembly government would be liaising with salt suppliers to assist in the prioritisation of deliveries to local authorities.

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