Rock salt shortages forwarned in October
As local authorities in the UK indicate that their supplies of rock salt will start to run out, it seems that one group of people can say: "We told you so!"
UK-based salt manufacturers, represented by the Salt Association, have been warning since October that local authorities could be better prepared.
In a statement in October, Peter Sherrett, general secretary of the Salt Association, said: "The rush of late orders our members received during and immediately after the last snowfall in April [in the UK] indicated that some local authorities had been over-optimistic in forecasting an end to bad weather." It would appear that they have been over-optimistic about bad weather, full stop.
It may have been efficient to keep just enough rock salt in the past, given the rarity of heavy snow, but ongoing environmental change means that strategy is no longer feasible. Sherrett said: "Climate change means that the weather may be less predictable and there may be greater extremes. Winter maintenance teams operate under very difficult circumstances and have to be able to react quickly to changing weather forecasts."
And, as thought he were looking through a crystal ball, Sherret warned that "Cost-saving is unlikely to be an adequate defence" for local authorities that failed to spread salt on roads. "Sudden bouts of cold weather can bring traffic chaos and inadequate de-icing of roads receives high profil media coverage in the media.