9 Jan 2010

Road grit usage being cut in UK

8:36 am on 9 January 2010

The British government has ordered a cut in the use of salt to grit icy roads as freezing weather looks set to continue over the weekend.

Supplies of salt are dwindling and Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, said councils have agreed to cut salt use by 25%.

The Conservatives said that the government's move was "an admission of utter failure" and plans should have been made earlier.

Lord Adonis announced the salt cut decision following a meeting of the "Salt Cell" - a group made up of ministers, the Highways Agency and councils.

The BBC reports supplies of salt are close to running out in some areas, with many councils restricting gritting to major roads.

The government has ordered salt from abroad but this is not due to arrive until 21 January.

Shadow local government and communities secretary Caroline Spelman told BBC Radio the government had failed to listen to a warning report by councils published last year on the matter.

Forecasters have warned that the freezing conditions could last at least another week.