Salt supplies to be rationed by County

Gritting will continue on major routes.

DEVON County Council is to ration its salt supplies from tomorrow (Boxing Day).

So far this winter, the council has been treating its primary network and secondary routes - covering more than 2,000 miles of Devon to keep the county moving.

It has also implemented snow plans designed to provide access to local communities of 100 people or more across the county. Despite that, there are still numerous roads that are impassable and will be for some time to come, if the temperatures remain below freezing.

Having closely monitored its stocks, Devon is taking action in order to conserve supplies. From tomorrow only the primary precautionary network will be treated, covering 1,700 miles of mostly A and B roads, unless severe conditions return. Roads off the precautionary network will not be routinely treated.

Devon County Council started the season with around 24,000 tonnes of salt this year, compared to 19,000 tonnes at the start of last winter. To date, it has used 15,000 tonnes compared to 5,453 tonnes over the same period last year. A delivery of 8,000 tonnes of salt is expected next month.

There have been 67 treatments of precautionary salting network so far this season, compared with 29 at the same time last year. In total, there were 137 precautionary treatments throughout the whole of last winter.

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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Devon County Council has been working around the clock for the last five weeks to try and keep the roads in Devon as clear as possible. The ongoing freezing temperatures are taking their toll on salt resources, and although we are relatively well off compared to some authorities our salt stocks will not last forever.

“We must be prepared for the possibility of these conditions continuing, and while we appreciate these are testing times for everyone, we will only be able to treat the main routes in the county and simply won’t be able to attend to minor roads and estates. The salt we spread is also being mixed with 20% grit. Grit bins will be filled with grit, but salt bags will not be replaced. This action should help us get to the end of January providing extreme weather does not return but if it does we will implement alternative strategies.”