The Government has called upon local?authorities?across?the country?to ensure key transport routes to COVID-19 test centres are kept open this winter.

Baroness Vere?has written to councils urging them to ensure their supplies of salt and grit are topped up so that essential routes, such as those to hospitals and COVID-19 testing stations, are well maintained.

The Department for Transport has?also invested?over £16m?to help Highways England roll out 93 brand new gritters for use this winter.

The new gritters join a 535-strong winter fleet, including 23 snow blowers capable of removing up to 2,500 tonnes of snow per hour.?

A further £40m will be invested by Highways England to help over 250 replacement winter vehicles join the fleet. ?

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: ‘We have worked tirelessly with the country’s highways teams to make sure our transport networks are kept open and running in whatever weather we encounter.? ?

‘This year, it is more important than ever that Britain is prepared for the winter as we continue to tackle the pandemic. Through this work, we’ll ensure key routes to COVID-19 test centres remain open in the coming months.’

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, commented: ‘Our winter fleet will be out treating our roads around the clock whenever ice or snow is forecast, but it is still important that drivers plan their journeys, make sure they are prepared for the winter weather and drive safely in all conditions.’

The Salt Association has provided reassurance that salt production nationally is where it needs to be as winter begins. It also urges highways authorities at national and local levels across the UK to guard against any complacency in managing and maintaining salt stocks.

Image: Ben Gamble/Wikimedia Commons.