18/12/2009

AA Expresses Winter Concerns

The AA warned earlier this week that some local authorities may not have learned lessons from last February’s problems with gritting on the roads.

Now the Chairman of the UK Roads Liaison Group review of winter service has said: "I am concerned that some authorities have not embraced the recommendations of our recent report."

The report urged local authorities to hold a minimum of six days of salt in reserve during winter, to prepare contingency plans for severe weather and establish partnerships with several salt suppliers.

Matthew Lugg of the UK Roads Board is quoted as saying that some local authorities had made progress, by filling their salt barns at the beginning of the winter season, investing in additional storage and reviewing their procurement arrangements.
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It is reported that he remained unconvinced that the whole of the UK will be better prepared for severe weather this coming winter compared to last season.

The AA has again written to Councillor Sparks, Chairman of the LGA Transport and Regeneration Board, seeking assurances of how well prepared local authorities are for a severe winter.

The AA President wrote to Councillor Sparks on this issue on the 16 November but is yet to receive a reply.

Edmund King, AA President, said: "We are aware that some local authorities are extremely well-prepared for bad weather on the roads.

"However, we warned in early February 2009 that some authorities had allowed stocks of salt to dwindle too much and this proved to be the case.

"These authorities then encountered supply chain problems and were unable to get adequate new supplies.

"We hope all local authorities will be well-prepared this winter but our fears that there may still be some problems seems to be reflected by the Chairman of the UK Roads Liaison Group’s review of winter service."

(PR/KMcA)

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