As a cold snap approaches in the UK, a shortage of gritters puts the elderly at risk of serious injury, according to a charity.
The Local Government Association has warned that inflated salaries are luring local government gritter lorry drivers into the private sector.
When parts of the UK are plunged into freezing conditions this week, a charity has warned that a worrying shortage of gritters due to the ongoing lorry driver crisis could increase the risk of older people falling and seriously injuring themselves.
Due to a driver shortage, some areas have had difficulty getting their bins collected in recent weeks, and there are now fears that gritters – who spread salt on roads to make them safer to walk and drive on in icy conditions – will be the next essential service to be impacted.
The problem is exacerbated by gritter drivers who are being lured into the private sector by inflated salaries, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
Councillor David Renard, the LGA’s transport spokesperson, told me that while councils will be planning ahead for winter, training gritter drivers is “a lengthy process” that will not be able to address short-term pressures.
Falling is a “major hazard” for the elderly, according to Age UK, and any gritter shortage “is a concern.”
Snow is expected in the UK this week as icy air from the Arctic blows across the country, and strong winds are expected at the weekend, potentially disrupting travel.
Councils will work proactively to plan ahead and “ensure that their winter services are as resilient as they can be,” according to Mr Renard, “as they do every year.”
The Department of Transportation said it is assisting local governments in preparing for winter weather and is stepping up efforts to address the lorry driver shortage.
Reports of a grit shortage in Scotland were untrue, according to Transport Scotland.
According to a spokesperson, “the amount of salt currently in stock and on order equates to more than was used throughout last year.”
Reserves, on the other hand, are being watched by local authorities.
“Scotland’s Councils take their road safety responsibilities seriously and are constantly monitoring potential issues ahead of this winter, including grit supplies,” a spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) told i.
Figures courtesy of the Office for National Statistics.
UK news summary from Infosurhoy.
As a cold snap approaches in the UK, a shortage of gritters poses a serious risk of serious injury to the elderly, according to a charity.