Press release -

Highways Agency: Highways Agency takes further measures to conserve salt stocks

The Highways Agency is to further reduce its salt usage as a measure to conserve salt stocks and help manage supplies in order to help keep the country running during the continuing winter weather period. This reduction is in addition to a 25% reduction in salt usage which came into effect last week.

The prolonged period of wintery weather continues to put pressure on salt stocks. Therefore we are taking a number of measures to reduce salt usage including a reduction in our treatment rates when ploughing snow, and not directly treating motorway hard shoulders.

Derek Turner, Network Operations Director at the Highways Agency, said:

“We are now experiencing the most prolonged spell of severe weather since December 1981, more prolonged than last February, which was the worst winter in 18 years. We will be reducing our salt usage further, following a wholesale revision of our detailed treatment regime. This includes reducing treatment rates when ploughing snow by 50%, along with measures previously announced, including not directly treating the hard shoulder.

“The measures we are taking reflect the need to conserve salt stocks to improve our resilience to handle any further deterioration in the weather both locally and nationally.

“We do not take actions such as this lightly and safety of road users remains our highest priority. The Highways Agency is managing salt stocks carefully and working with Met Office forecasters at the National Traffic Control Centre in Birmingham, to continue to provide a robust winter service across the strategic road network and wherever possible keep motorways and trunk roads open and in a safe condition through the current period of severe weather.”

To make best use of our salt supplies we are no longer directly treating motorway hard shoulders where our salt spreaders can be adjusted to treat running lanes only. We will of course continue to treat the hard shoulder where it is used as a running lane on sections of managed motorway on the M6 and M42 as well as where the hard shoulder is used as a running lane through road works.

Notes to editors

Issued by the Highways Agency. For further information please contact the Highways Agency Press Office on 0207 081 7443.

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available:
- From our Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at To tune into the DAB service, simply press the "scan" button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach "Traffic Radio".
- From the web at or if using a phone or mobile device.
Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call.
- By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT residential landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).

3. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time (Calls to 0845 numbers will cost no more than 4p per minute from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).

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Issued on by the Highways Agency. For further information please contact the Highways Agency Press Office on 0207 081 7443.


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department


  • Government


  • derek turner
  • network operations director