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Monday 18 December 2017

Councils told to ration salt ahead of second big freeze

Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent

COUNCILS have been ordered to ration salt supplies to cope with another expected big freeze due later this week.

As Met Eireann warned yesterday about snow and ice returning on Thursday, the National Roads Authority (NRA) instructed local authorities to carefully manage their road gritting operations.

It has ordered the councils to spare grit supplies for the remainder of this week, the Irish Independent has learnt.

Some local authorities are complaining they do not have adequate supplies of salt to clear roads still affected by the snow and ice. They are demanding more supplies to cope with another big freeze from Thursday and into next week. A cold front will move down the country from the North, bringing freezing temperatures which are due to last over the weekend and into next week, especially in the north and north-west. Another cold snap will spell trouble for motorists and businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

Pat Clarke, Met Eireann forecaster, said the air would come from the Polar region, bringing sleet and snow and temperatures of -9C or lower. Snow will be heaviest in the north, north-west, west and in Munster.

A total of 20,000 tonnes of salt are in stock, and a further 20,000 tonnes have been ordered and are due for delivery next week in time for Christmas.

"We will be okay if we manage supplies this week and more supplies arrive next week," a source said. "Local authorities have been told to ration their supplies to prepare for the return to harsh weather."

It has also emerged the €40 'cold weather' allowance will be paid to 340,000 people between December 22 and January 7, making it difficult for many people to order in extra fuel in time.

Meanwhile, water rationing is still affecting many counties, including Dublin where one million people have been hit.

The raised demand for water in the Dublin region has continued throughout the thaw over the past number of days.

The pressure reductions and shut-offs have had the effect of curtailing somewhat the reductions in storage in the local and regional reservoirs, according to the four Dublin councils.

Dublin City Council said all areas would have supply restricted from 7pm to 7am until Thursday at the earliest. It appealed to consumers to reduce water consumption and not to leave taps running.

Similar restrictions will be in place in Fingal, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Kildare and Wicklow council areas.

Meanwhile, the restaurants association said their members had suffered a 70pc loss in business due to the water rationing.

Irish Independent

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