Governments must co-ordinate salt supplies

In the House of Commons yesterday, Jo called on the Government to work together with the Scottish Government to secure supplies of salt and grit.

Jo described conditions in East Dunbartonshire as “treacherous” after heavy snowfall in recent weeks, and pointed out that salt supplies in Scotland are running dangerously low.

East Dunbartonshire Council issued a statement this week blaming salt supply companies for the Council’s failure to grit and salt many widely used roads and pavements and thanking the public for “bearing with us during this difficult time.”

However, Jo has written to the Council calling for a full investigation into its response to the severe weather over the holiday period, asking why it did not appear to have planned for heavy snowfall which was adequately forecast.

Commenting, Jo said:

“Conditions in East Dunbartonshire continue to be treacherous, with many people still confined to their homes because roads and pavements have not been treated.

“I understand that salt supplies are low across Scotland, but the severe weather we have experienced over the past few weeks was forecast well in advance, so it beggars belief that there was not a plan in place to ensure salt supplies were sufficient. Simply blaming the suppliers is just not good enough. The Scottish Finance Minister’s comments that there is enough salt to go around and there are “perfectly adequate walking conditions” show that his Government is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

“Our governments in Westminster and Holyrood must now work together to replenish salt stocks as quickly as possible and ensure that they are distributed fairly across the country, prioritising the areas where it is most needed.”

The text of Jo’s question to the Minister for Transport appears below:

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): In East Dunbartonshire a severe shortage of salt has left many roads and pavements in a treacherous condition, and earlier this week parts of Scotland ran out of salt completely. What specific requests have the Scottish Government made for assistance in securing additional salt; and what has been the result of those requests?

Mr. Sadiq Khan: One reason why we are working with the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales is that the same salt producers supply both countries. We would not want Scotland and Wales to lose out as an unintended consequence of our prioritising English local authorities. That is why both countries are very much inside the loop when it comes to the Salt Cell organisation to which we have referred. We are in regular contact with our colleagues, and that includes discussions about salt importation from overseas. We will continue to keep in touch with them over the next period.

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