Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

NRA grit roads with fertiliser

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The National Roads Authority (NRA) was forced to use fertiliser to grit roads last week as supplies of rock salt ran low.

As stocks of grit disappeared in many counties towards the end of last week, the NRA decided to buy 600t of urea.

A spokesman for the NRA said that the high nitrate content of urea meant that it was a natural de-icer and, consequently, an ideal substance for use on public roads.

It had been anticipated that further quantities of fertiliser would be sourced by local authorities had the cold snap continued.

However, the thaw over the past two days and the increased availability of salt means that further supplies of urea are unlikely to be required by local authorities.

With up to 20,000t of grit being spread on roads each week since before Christmas, the volume of fertiliser used was very small.


A spokesman for the NRA described the decision to source the urea as a "stop-gap measure".

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Two shiploads of rock salt have been landed over the past week. One shipment came into Foynes, Co Limerick, while another was landed in Cork over the weekend.

When told that urea was being used to grit roads, a senior farmer commented wryly: "So much for the Nitrates Directive, they might as well have thrown it straight into the rivers."

Irish Independent