Winter Salt Stockpiles

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker Conservative, Worcester 10:30 am, 12th January 2012

What assessment she has made of whether stockpiles of salt for winter resilience have increased since 2009.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald

What assessment she has made of whether stockpiles of salt for winter resilience have increased since 2009.

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Secretary of State for Transport

Total salt stock holdings in Great Britain at the start of December last year were just over 2.7 million tonnes, including strategic stockpiles of 539,000 tonnes. This is a significant improvement on the stock levels held in 2009 and is due to the actions that this Government have taken on winter resilience.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker Conservative, Worcester

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that very reassuring answer. Will she join me in commending local authorities such as Worcestershire that have not only increased their stocks but have also adopted new technologies such as the use of brine and GPS monitoring to make sure their reserves go much further? Is it not right that in these difficult times in preparing for cold weather councils should be innovative and creative in doing more with less?

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Secretary of State for Transport

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend and I very much welcome the preparations that Worcestershire county council and other local highway authorities have taken to be prepared for severe winter weather. I also commend Worcestershire for taking on board the guidance that was published through the UK Roads Liaison Group in December 2010, which related to the sorts of things he has talked about.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald

What other winter resilience plans does the Secretary of State have for Kent commuters?

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Secretary of State for Transport

In addition to the measures I just outlined in relation to increasing not only the level of salt we have but our ability to get the most effective winter resilience out of that salt stock, we are also investing to make sure that our rail companies are far better able to cope with bad weather. That includes making sure that we have more de-icing trains as well as better technology for existing trains to de-ice as they run. That will be particularly beneficial to my hon. Friend’s constituents.