Powys County Council to splash £1.5m to improve salt stock
A local authority could spend £1.5 million building new units to house more salt to tackle ice and snowbound roads.
Powys County Council’s current stock capacity for salt is approximately 23,000 tonnes.
But the agreed ideal stock level to ensure there is enough to get through a tough winter is 32,500 for county and trunk routes.
A report that will go before the council in the coming weeks from cabinet member for assets Phyl Davies is proposing to build to new units in Newtown and Llangammarch Wells.
The report comes on the back of a review commissioned across the UK after national salt shortages in 2009/10.
In Wales, the Salt Union, a forum of all local authorities, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), and the Welsh Government agreed to set targets to achieve sufficient stock levels to ensure Wales was more resilient.
Failure to increase stock levels will place the authority at risk, for it may not be able to access government salt stocks emergency salt stocks.
In an average year, the authority uses 22,000 tonnes. There is no figure available yet for this winter, but with long periods of freezing weather and three major snowfalls it is likely to be well above that average.
The report says £1.486 million is available from capital funding to provide an additional ‘strategic salt storage’.
Councillor Davies said: “Increasing salt storage will reduce the reliance on winter restocking, which is undertaken at a higher cost than summer restocking.”
The council will build new salt storage facilities in Newtown and Llangammarch Wells, and a further business case will be made to increase stocks in Brecon and Penybont, but declare Crickhowell and Presteigne surplus to requirements.
Other options in the report are to do nothing and risk having a stock shortage, or to keep storage out of county.
However the preferred option is to spend the capital on building new units, to ‘increase resilience of the winter service’ and ensure Powys has access to Welsh Government emergency salt stocks at times of national shortage.