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CILT warns over salt and grit preparation for this winter

By: William Hobson
14 October 2010

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has urged transport operators and highways authorities to prepare for the coming winter and avoid a repeat of the previous shortages of salt and grit supplies.

CILT's chief executive, Steve Agg, has called for the logistics industry and highways authorities to improve upon last year so that vital logistics work can carry on without the disruption seen in early 2010. Last year roads across the country ground to a halt and council's found their supplies severely tested.

Although a government report published in July found that, through unprecedented co-operation between neighbouring local authorities and groups in the private sector, those responsible for keeping the roads clear did a "good job", it was clear that supplies of salt and grit were dangerously close to exhaustion.

Mr Agg warns that "even a short term paralysis of the delivery system could result in empty shelves and operational problems for UK industry."

"Hopefully, no such paralysis is in view. But we need to take steps in order to avoid, or at least minimise, such a prospect."

These include ensuring that vehicles are kept to the highest maintenance standards and that "individual companies take steps to ensure their commercial arrangements can continue in the event of "severe weather conditions." For example, last year's situation meant that whilst many drivers wanted to meet their delivery schedules, by the time the severity of the disruption was realised, it was often too late to take an alternative route or make other arrangements.

CILT has called upon highway authorities to do "all they can" to ensure that stocks of salt and grit are available to deal with conditions similar or worse than those seen in January 2010, expressing concern over a recent statement from the LGA that a "proportion" of councils feel they do not have enough supplies.

"Failure to keep our roads open inevitably results in safety issues, extra costs and social and industrial inconvenience which we must avoid, if at all possible," said Mr Agg.

Over the past month the BBC has reported that several councils, including Swansea, Nottinghamshire, Dumfries and Galloway, have laid in extra stocks for this winter.



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