LGA warns winter gritting could be affected by shortage of drivers

The shortage of gritter drivers in the UK could affect roads being gritted in the winter as well, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Heightened by the pandemic and Brexit, the nationwide shortage of HGV drivers has been blamed for the recent fuel shortage and short supply of food on shelves in supermarkets.

The estimated shortfall of drivers in the UK stands at 100,000, with vacancies still not being filled fast enough.

Councils use contacted staff or bin lorry drivers to run salt-spreading vehicles during the winter, and now theLGA warns some authorities “may find that their gritting services are affected”.

Cllr David Renard, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘While most councils have been able to keep services running, some may find that their gritting services are affected in the same way that some have seen waste collection services impacted. As they do every year, councils will be working proactively to plan ahead and ensure that their winter services are as resilient as they can be.’

Cllr Richard added that the lure of increased wages in the private sector will only make the situation worse – with councils unable to match their pay.

“Councils are keen to work with Government and partners to support more training for these demand sectors, however this is a lengthy process and does not alleviate the short term pressures on frontline services,” he added.

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