Are drivers in for a ‘winter of woe’?

If next winter’s a hard one, it could be tough to get around as gritting budgets are cut

The UK may be basking in a long hot summer at the moment, but new research suggests motorists could suffer if there’s snow this winter…

One of Britain’s leading motoring organisations has warned that motorists face a “winter of woe” as councils cut spending on gritting.

The AA analysed local authorities’ budget submissions to the Government for 2018/19 and identified a £3.7 million cut in gritting services over the coming winter.

Not only that, but councils also plan to slash spending on clearing overgrown hedges and trees from road signs by £79 million.

To make matters worse their analysis shows that just 12% of councils are increasing their pothole funds.

Drivers “could be left stranded”

AA President Edmund King is anxious about the effect of the proposed budget cuts on motorists, particularly this winter.

He says: “Reducing the winter provision budget is a risk. Should we have another winter like the last one then that shortfall in funds could lead to drivers being left stranded on snowy roads, or villages cut off from vital services.”

But council leaders insist they’re doing their best.

Planning for winter “a key priority”

Judith Blake, transport spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, says: “Planning for winter remains a key priority for councils, despite ongoing funding pressures and competing demands on their limited resources.

“Last year councils had 1.5 million tonnes stockpiled with gritters deployed at a moment’s notice through the wintry months to make sure our local roads were clear and open to our residents where possible.”

Beast from the East

Earlier this year, some parts of Britain saw widespread snow and ice as the country was hit by severe weather in February and March – including the dreaded “Beast from the East”.

Hard to imagine now, but it’s a reminder of how quickly the weather can turn in this country.

Our website is full to the brim of useful advice for all kinds of weather conditions. Right now you’ll probably be most interested in our summer driving tips to keep you cool.

But it’s always good to be well prepared! So before the colder weather kicks in this autumn and winter, don’t forget to check out our guide on how to stay safe driving in snow and ice.

In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

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