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14 January 2011, 16:12 | Updated: 14 January 2011, 16:21
The Department for Transport has turned down Surrey’s request for more salt to help tackle winter weather.
The council applied to the Government’s salt cell for more stocks after the last prolonged spell of severe weather but was told other areas of the country were higher priorities because they were running out of salt.
Before winter the council filled Surrey's warehouses to the brim with 13,000 tonnes of salt - 50% more than last winter - but the severe weather including the coldest December on record required the council to use 10,000 tonnes with its fleet of gritters covering more than 50,000 miles.
This means Surrey now has 3,000 tonnes of salt in stock with a delivery of 2,000 tonnes expected within weeks. This private order was placed last year. To preserve stocks until the delivery arrives the council will reduce the amount of salt it uses by concentrating on treating A-roads and key routes to hospitals.
Ian Lake, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “It may seem we are being punished for preparing well for winter but I understand the Government is in a difficult position and has to prioritise those parts of the country in most need. However, this means we have to be careful with our own salt stocks until deliveries arrived to ensure we can continue to help keep Surrey moving as much as possible through any more ice and snow this winter.”