Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Gritter driver shortage could leave roads as icy death traps this winter

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A gritter lorry spreads salt on the M4 motorway near Pencoed, Wales, as snow begins to fall and settle in the area. Picture date: Sunday January 31, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story WEATHER Winter. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
It’s feared there will not be enough drivers to spread salt on roads this winter (Picture: PA)

Roads could be left covered in ice this winter as councils desperately scramble to find gritter drivers.

Compounded by the pandemic and Brexit, a nationwide shortage of HGV drivers has been blamed for the recent fuel crisis and supermarket shelves going empty.

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Vacancies are not being filled fast enough, with a shortfall of drivers estimated to stand at 100,000.

It could now spell disaster for salt-spreading services across the country as we head into the cold months, The Mirror reports.

Cllr David Renard, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said: ‘While most councils have been able to keep services running, some may find that their gritting services are affected in the same way that some have seen waste collection services impacted.

‘As they do every year, councils will be working proactively to plan ahead and ensure that their winter services are as resilient as they can be.’

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Gritter drivers are usually contracted by local authorities who also rely on bin drivers to keep roads free of ice.

A gritter lorry prepares to spreads grit on the A62 as snow falls above the village of Delph, near Manchester in northern England on December 4, 2020. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A gritter lorry prepares to spreads grit on the A62 last December (Picture: AFP)

It’s feared the inflation of private sector drivers could create a big recruitment issue for councils and the public sector.

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said we are facing a ‘perfect storm’ this winter.

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He said: ‘These issues aren’t going to disappear, no matter how much the Prime Minister tries to ignore them or blame others.

‘Until the Government gets a grip, ordinary people will continue to pay the price for the major labour and skills shortages that will make an already critical situation worse.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at veloxnews1@gmail.com

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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