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More Grit Please, We’re British!!

January 10, 2010

 [picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=britain+in+the+snow&iid=7480915″ src=”3/b/c/c/Freezing_Temperatures_Continue_f75f.jpg?adImageId=8903982&imageId=7480915″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Glasgow, Scotland – The recriminations over the lack of road salt have started. Not only do the UK’s roads lack grit it seems that some on the people managing them do too.

Considering how the British lambast the French over their top down centralised system of Government it’s always surprised me that at whiff of a national emergency we, the British, introduce a well umm top down Government system, as is the case with our road salt/grit crisis.

In an effort to look like it’s doing something positive the Labour Government has activated ‘Salt Cell’, its committee to manage road salt stocks . UK Local Authorities with enough stocks to keep their network of roads snow and ice-free are being instructed to pass road salt to Authorities whose stocks are low, or non-existent. In another dictate ‘Salt Cell’ has issued an instruction to reduce overall salt consumption, i.e. road mileage covered, by 25%.

This top down crisis management has met with an unsurprisingly vociferous response from the elected leaders of those Local Authorities who have made adequate provision, salt stocks wise, to keep their road networks open. They are carrying the can for inadequacies in other Authorities and Central Government while having to explain to their electorates why the roads are not open. Time perhaps to deploy some ‘jeopardy’ management techniques i.e. get this mess sorted or your jobs in jeopardy, your sacked bro.

However, help is at hand. The Transport Minister has announced that emergency supplies of road salt are on their way from the USA. The downside being it could be as much as two weeks before they arrive. Two weeks!! So what about the ‘special relationship’, remember the Marshall Plan? Look we have gas, we have oil, somewhere under 15 metres of snow we have a uranium enrichment plant, if recent US foreign policy is anything to go by surely we can get a ‘visit’ sooner!

This snow, ice and salt thingy has it’s humorous side. A number of Local Authorities have been forced to move their salt stockpiles into secure areas to avoid theft and then resale back to Local Authorities via brokers. In one case it is alleged salt was moved with police escort. The police have also publicised the fact that taking salt from roadside bins is an offence, i.e. theft. Apparently it is ok the spread the stuff near the bin, but you cannot take up the road and spread it outside your house. Meantime in Scotland thieves have made off with a salt bin and contents weighing over three tonnes, obviously, the police are looking into it!

Then of course there are the problems in Essex with ‘anti social snowballing’, bit of a struggle with getting the evidence into court I hear. It seems that the rumour that ‘Salt Cell’ have demanded that salt stocks be protected by banning salt application to take away fish and chips is just that, a rumour. Then we have a new formula from the Health and Safety Executive i.e. Health and Safety + Snow = No Fun.

All good fun and we have the road pothole crisis coming next. England I love you!!

The picture – nothing to do with the post subject but I thought it a great shot.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

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