UK Politics

Conservative Party: Snow grit report ignored

News   •   Jan 08, 2010 11:40 GMT

Caroline Spelman, the Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, has criticised the Government for ignoring a report that could have helped prevent grit shortages.

The report was published following the extreme weather conditions last winter and could have helped prevent the current chaos across Britain.

The report held 19 recommendations, but Ministers dithered for months and only responded to the report as they saw the weather forecast, days before snow hit, leaving them little time to take any preventative action.

Caroline Spelman said that was "a clear sign of how distracted the Government has become that after the experiences of last February we are once again looking at insufficient salt reserves and countrywide disruption of the vital road network".

This failure is combined with the recent Government guidance recommending that councils should hold 6 days of supplies in case of adverse weather conditions, when the cold spell is predicted to last for 10 days. This suggests that even recent Government thinking is out of date.

The issue is of such concern that the Shadow DCLG Team will be asking an urgent question in the House today, asking ministers to explain why they sat on a report that could have helped the country and how they plan to deal with the ongoing crisis.

"Had ministers acted on this important report in July preparations would have been a great deal better", Spelman said.

"The longer this disruption continues the more questions ministers will have to answer. It can't go on like this with the Government failing to respond to recommendations until chaos has hit"