Big freeze: Fresh supplies ease grit shortage

HUNDREDS of tonnes of salt and grit were delivered to a council today as supplies ran low amid the wintry weather gripping Scotland.

• Grit is laid on Union Street in Edinburgh

Some councils reported having a low stock of salt and grit and that they were only able to treat main routes but the Scottish Government claimed the salt supply is sufficient across the country.

A Government spokesman said Fife Council is receiving 250 tonnes of salt and grit today following a delivery of 50 tonnes yesterday.

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Fife Council said the delivery arrived this afternoon and has provided a "much-needed boost" to its stocks.

Scotland's councils and trunk road operators have about 40,000 tonnes of supplies, with further deliveries expected today and tomorrow for the majority of local authorities, according to the government spokesman.

Earlier the head of transport at Fife Council said road treatment had been in a "fairly critical" situation since Christmas.

"After our pre-grit this morning we will have effectively run out of salt," said Bob McLellan. "Pre-grit started about 6am this morning and will finish about 9am."

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said grit would today be diverted to the area to ensure continued supply.

He added: "We will do that again to make sure that the council is adequately.

"We will be helping out Fife Council to make sure that they get over the particular difficulties they've got."

Local authorities around Scotland today took steps to ensure roads remained useable.

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Edinburgh City Council said it had a few hundred tonnes of grit and salt left but it is expecting another delivery today or tomorrow, either by road or by sea at Rosyth.

East Lothian Council said it had 180 tonnes of salt on Saturday but is also expecting a delivery today.

A Midlothian Council spokesman said a delivery of salt was received today and additional deliveries are scheduled from Wednesday onwards.

He said: "We have also organised extra snow-clearing equipment and our road crews are continuing to work day and night to try to keep priority routes clear and minimise disruption for our communities in the face of the heaviest snowfall in at least 25 years."

In Stirling, supplies are also holding up and a spokeswoman said it is expected to be sufficiently covered up until the weekend.

Renfrewshire Council said it is prioritising gritting main routes to conserve salt stocks and that secondary routes may be more hazardous than normal.

However it is expecting another delivery of salt tomorrow.

West Dunbartonshire Council said its salt supply was critically low at the weekend and that it also had only been gritting critical routes.

However it is expecting a large delivery of salt tomorrow and that it is gritting more routes more frequently.

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East Dunbartonshire Council said it is also expecting a delivery of salt tomorrow or Wednesday, and said it has enough salt to keep main roads open in the meantime.

North Ayrshire Council said it has enough salt to last till the end of the week, and is expecting a delivery tomorrow or Wednesday.

South Ayrshire Council said it has sufficient stock levels to meet its requirements.

In North Lanarkshire the council said it is only gritting main routes but it is expecting a delivery in the next few days, while East Renfrewshire said it is prioritising the main routes but had enough stocks to keep going.

A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said stocks were "extremely low" but she said the council is expecting a delivery of 5,000 tonnes of salt today.

• A council worker shovels grit on to a Glasgow street

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: "We are confident we have enough supplies of salt to see us through this cold snap. We are using 600 to 800 tonnes each day and priority routes take around 200 tonnes.

"We are also mixing grit with salt for economy to make it last."

The council said 350 staff are on winter maintenance duties and 26 gritting vehicles are being used.

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Road gritters in Dundee are doing only high-priority routes, such as main roads and bus routes.

A council spokesman said: "A further delivery of salt is due on Friday and in the meantime we are continuing to grit as normal."

Aberdeen City Council said it did not have any problems with salt stocks.

A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said gritting has continued throughout the cold spell and supplies have "never been an issue" in the area.

The council had grit delivered last night and is expecting another delivery next week.