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Is our grit running out?

Gritter at Old Chatham Road, Maidstone. Sent in by Adam Murdin
Gritter at Old Chatham Road, Maidstone. Sent in by Adam Murdin

County road chiefs have already used nearly two thirds of the salt stockpiled before the big freeze, KentOnline can reveal.

Kent County Council had stored 23,000 tonnes of salt before the winter season began in October.

Now it says there's just 8,000 tonnes left at its seven depots across the county.

But it says its efforts to keep the county’s main road network will not be affected - despite no let up in the prolonged spell of snow and icy conditions and that further salt supplies ordered.

Much of the south east is expected to see further snowfalls over the next few days while icy conditions are expected to continue at least until Christmas.

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This afternoon, Kent Police sent out another warning to motorists about the dangers of black ice.

Cllr Nick Chard (Con), KCC cabinet member for highways, said: "In a normal year, we’d use about 13,000 tonnes.

"Last year, to put it in context, we used 20,000 tonnes and so far this year, we have used 15,000 tonnes.

"We have forward ordered and are expecting deliveries before Christmas to replenish our supplies that we’ve used."

KCC was also hoping to secure a further 4,000 tonnes of salt from supplies that are being held by the government centrally.

Most of Kent’s salt comes from Ireland and the north of England, including Cheshire.

Cllr Chard said using a range of suppliers meant that the risks of shortages was minimised.

Salt was also being mixed with sharp sand which was better able to keep the roads clear in sub-zero temperatures.

Kent has 66 winter service vehicles to treat the primary salting routes and have more on standby.

Cllr Chard said the gritters had done a fantastic job since the cold spell began.

"Everyone has shown a fantastic commitment," he said.

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