Council doubles highways salt stocks ready for winter
Highways officials in north east Wales have increased salt stocks to try to avert a repeat of problems last year due to prolonged freezing conditions.
Denbighshire council has doubled its stockpile from last winter to 8,000 tonnes.
Wrexham council has opened a new store at Chirk for more salt and invested in new road-gritting equipment.
Other councils including Flintshire have worked to prepare centralised stocks if more salt is needed.
The extra steps are being taken due to last year's difficulties when salt stocks ran low around the UK.
A Wrexham council spokeswoman said the authority had been preparing for the winter months since summer.
It already has 5,000 tonnes of salt in stock at depots on Wrexham Industrial Estate, and Llay.
The new store in Chirk will house a further 2,000 tonnes which is on its way.
"This will take us to 7,000 tonnes which is the total we used last year," said the spokeswoman.
The authority has also invested in two tractor towed gritter units for areas of high ground because, last year, there was lots of drifting snow on high country roads.
The authority will also be using quad bikes with gritting units to salt town centre and village shopping areas.
A Flintshire spokesman said: "In order to provide additional resilience in the event of another severe winter, Flintshire is working with other Welsh councils and the Welsh Assembly Government to procure additional material.
"This material will be held at central locations across Wales and used only if the need arises."
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, says more than 75% of councils have decided to increase the amount of road salt they have in stock for this winter.
In Denbighshire, highways staff spread salt on almost 400 miles (643km) of roads on every night when frost or icy conditions are forecast.
They use local weather forecasts and also look at information from temperature sensors set into the road at Bodfari and Loggerheads.
A council spokesman said: "It is a fine line between buying in too much and ensuring there is sufficient stocks for our needs.
"The five routes that run out of our Kinmel Park depot in Bodelwyddan will now use a treated salt which requires only one application in a 24 hour period, which automatically reduces the amount of salt required on a significant length of the network."