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IAM warns against council cut backs on winter road services

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Road safety charity the IAM is warning that many of Britain's roads will become more hazardous for motorists due to council cut backs.

In spite of the last two winters of severe cold, snow and ice, many councils are planning to cut back on winter road services, including salting, exposing motorists to dangerous driving conditions.

Last year there was a 37% increase in the number of cars overturning in snow and ice.

Budget estimates from the Department for Communities and Local Government show a 3.6% decrease in estimated spending for salting roads, snowploughing, and standby arrangements across England. This represents a significant cut when inflation is considered.

Sixty-seven councils appear to be reducing the amount they are spending on winter road services, with 33 budgeting more than 10% less than last year. Most worryingly 21 councils appear to have budgeted over 30% less than they did last year.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Roads are essential for the economy - not only in rural areas where cars are the only way to get around but also on the main routes that keep our economy moving.

"Ambulances, supermarket food deliveries, meals on wheels, utilities, even the armed forces, all rely on having a usable road network.

"Last year, parts of Scotland nearly ran out of food and fuel. The 24-hour, just-in-time logistics system simply wasn't able to cope with the weather.

"Councils must make contingency plans to ensure that essential supplies can always get through, no matter what the weather. This has to include dealing with large numbers of drivers stranded for hours with no access to heat or food."

It is even more important that drivers and riders take care in severe weather conditions, given reduced winter road services.

A new website is available, drivingadvice.org.uk, for advice on dealing with all winter weather conditions.

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