County insists they have enough salt

SALT stocks across the county are being prudently managed say highways bosses.

SALT stocks across the county are being 'prudently managed' say highways bosses.

The prolonged cold spell has seen salt stocks depleted across the country at a much faster rate than usual.

Devon has used around 17,000 tonnes of salt already this winter, which is fast approaching the figure for the whole of last winter of more than 20,000 tonnes.

It also far exceeds the amount used during an average winter of between 10-12,000 tonnes.

The county still has around a third of its winter stocks remaining with around 6,000 tonnes of salt, and 3,500 tonnes of grit.

That's enough to salt the county's primary roads for a further ten days at the current rate of treatment.

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But as Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of roads - the biggest network of any local authority in the country minor roads and estate roads will not be treated - this has lead to the cancellation of waste collections last Thursday.

Instead they are concentrating on keeping the main routes across the county clear, more than 1,700 miles or 20 per cent of Devon's road network.

The major routes are currently passable with care and will continue to be the priority if snows again over the next few days.

Last Thursday night was the coldest so far, with road temperatures of -7 and Devon's entire fleet of gritters scheduled to be out over the weekend.

Inspections will also be carried out to ensure snow is not drifting on major routes.

Grit bins are being refilled regularly with grit wherever possible to help people treat their local roads.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "This on-going weather is the worst it has been in decades, and our highways teams are doing everything possible in what are extremely testing circumstances.

"Major roads are our priority and will continue to be so, but we will replenish grit bins when we can.

"Our highways staff are very busy, and salt and grit is not available from our depots, so members of the public are asked not to turn up at our depots.

"Grit bins are available for residents to use on public roads and pavements, not driveways.

"Only small amounts of grit and salt are needed to be effective but people must think of others when they use the grit bins."

Motorists are being advised to continue to drive with extreme care.