Rock Salt Facts and Figures

Rock Salt Facts

  • Many of the towns around the Cheshire area take their name from salt production. Northwich, Middlewich and Nantwich are three examples; ‘wych’ or ‘wich’ means ‘brine town’.
  • Over two million tonnes of salt are spread onto UK roads each years. The majority is spread on to motorways, trunk roads and main roads. Less than a third of other roads are treated.
  • Salting roads in the UK costs over £150 million a year. However, without salting delays would cost the economy as estimated £2 billion per year.
  • An Act of Parliament from 2003 binds local authorities to ensure: “… so far as is reasonably practical… safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice.”
  • Dependent solely on the weather, winter maintenance expenditure can vary significantly, making control of budgets very difficult. There can also be a huge difference between individual area Highway Authority winter maintenance plans.
  • Historically, great attention is given to planning but less attention was paid to the outcomes/effectiveness of the salting activities. The introduction of technology to winter maintenance is now providing methods to review effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery.
  • Each year, approximately 1,000 people are killed or seriously injured on icy or snow covered roads.
  • EuroRAP survey results show the risk of being killed in a traffic accident in Britain is 5.9 per 100,000 population – the lowest in any country in Europe.

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