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Staffordshire only gritting A and B Roads as salt runs out

Staffordshire County Council's highways gritting teams will be adapting their anti freeze operations from tonight to keep the road network on the move - despite the national shortage of salt supplies.

The decision has been made to grit A and B roads only in order to save on valuable salt reserves.

Dedicated teams will continue to brave the weather to spread salt by hand in 'critical' places including around hospitals and GP surgeries and in town centres.

The move comes after many weeks in which Staffordshire has bucked the trend amongst highways authorities and carried on gritting 43% of the network. This service is much higher than the national figure, even in normal times.

County Councillor Mike Maryon, Cabinet member for Highways, said: "The gritting teams have been working extremely hard to keep Staffordshire on the move despite the national salt shortage. 

"It would be irresponsible to continue to do full gritting in the face of the dwindling national supply of salt. We can not sustain our normal day to day salting levels while supplies are so depleted.

"Due to this, a decision has been made to reduce the gritting service to cover the A and B roads only.

"At the same time we will be ensuring as much as can be reasonably expected, that areas around hospitals, GP surgeries and town centres are kept as safe as possible. We are implementing an innovative approach where dedicated teams are using a special salt based mixture to hand salt these locations. 

"The highways team is facing a considerable challenge but is doing everything it can to keep Staffordshire on the move. It is also vital that motorists take extra care in these conditions as, even when roads are gritted, they can still be difficult to drive on.

"The highways hotline, 0800 232323, has been inundated with calls which peaked at 300 per hour on Monday. The system is struggling to deal with the demand and should only be used in an emergency."

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