UK double whammy before big chill with shortage of gritters and road salt

Britain is facing a winter ­double crisis – with a shortage of ­gritter drivers and road salt in a f­reezing run-up to Christmas.

Highways chiefs are scrambling to recruit more drivers to treat icy roads after many quit for bumper pay rises with lorry firms.

And in a worrying double whammy there is less grit in stock than in recent winters.

The Local Government Association warned the driver shortage could mean gritting runs are axed.

Spokesman Cllr David Renard told the Daily Star Sunday: “Some councils may find gritting services are affected in the same way as some waste collection services have been impacted.”

It comes as snow and ice are set to hit Britain in days, and a cold December looms.

Local authorities are now racing to recruit drivers for the UK’s 2,000 gritting lorries.

Dozens of winter road maintenance driver vacancies are listed on recruitment sites.

Hampshire Council said it was “training new drivers to ­ensure that we can maintain our winter service when demand peaks”.

Wrexham Council said it was “monitoring the situation very closely”.

Meanwhile, grit supplies could run short in parts of the country. Haulage firms delivering salt to council depots have also been hit by the driver shortage.

And a report by Transport Scotland ­revealed it has 30,000 fewer tonnes of road salt in stock than at this time last year.

Polar chills will hit in days, with snow and ice over the next week, and a cold December ahead.

The Local Government Association warned of gritting services being cut, as some bin collections have been.

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Cllr David Renard added: “Inflating HGV driver salaries in the private sector risks creating a retention and recruitment problem for councils and contractors.

“We want to address these staffing issues to ensure people across the country can receive services they rely upon.”

Britain is short of 100,000 HGV drivers – with private firms offering pay of over £50,000-a-year to lure lower-paid council drivers.

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