Posted: Wed 20th Sep 2023

Timing key for salt bin replenishment as contents often ‘go missing’ and ‘borrowed’ for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Sep 20th, 2023

People ‘borrowing’ salt has been blamed for some empty unreplenished salt bins in the county borough.

Councillors were discussing winter policies including salt management, with the council now carrying lower stock but fully confident there is more than enough supply for harsh winters.

Members were told in reports that there is a new policy, “Welsh Government’s Regional Stock Reserve”, that “provides for a regular rotation of salt stock” and therefore ‘avoiding problems caused by older stock of salt’, and reducing the logistical challenges of ‘rotating of stock’ to ensure older salt is utilised first. Wrexham Council will now retain a store of 5,000 tonnes (previous stock was held between 6,500 and 7,000 tonnes), which will be “replenished more frequently; with the provision to call on additional stocks retained by Welsh Government at strategic locations”. The council say the change in arrangements will ensure ‘fresh’ salt products, access to additional in-year capacity and remove the need for expensive stock turning during summer periods.

Councillors were also told ” approximately 620 salt bins located throughout the county varying in capacity. Their condition is monitored and they are replenished as necessary at the beginning of each winter season and re-stocked during a severe winter event as resources allow. Damaged bins are replaced as funds dictate.”

Generally such salt bins are intended for local people to grit public roads and footways in their communities – and the salt is not for private use.

This note was picked up by Cllr Marc Jones who welcomed replenishment, however pointed out his single salt bin in his ward had not been refilled, and that he had been ‘asking for it to be replenished since the last cold snap’, he added, ” I think it will be good to make sure that salt actually gets out to the communities that need it”

The council officer told the meeting, “The salts store that we have now are at full capacity. So we’ve got salt in there, in the depots, so we’re good to go, ready for the cold weather. We will be starting a program of going out to replenish the bins around areas. If there are any concerns of any things that aren’t be being filled then I would suggest contacting at your local area supervisor and they can coordinate.”

The Council Leader Mark Pritchard gave his view, “Just to comment on the salt bins and replenishment etc. it is very difficult for the Environment Department. I do sympathise with them because it’s all about timing, if you replenish them too early… they tend to… some of the salt… I will use the word ‘goes missing’.

“People tend to take it for their own personal uses, their own drives, etc. It goes on and it goes on all across this country. So I think it’s all about timing it right deciding when to replenish. Because, if you put it too early, it does… the stocks go down rather quickly.”

Lead Member for the Environment Cllr Hugh Jones added, “I think it is fair to say that the Environment Department use a significant amount of metrological forecasts in order to ensure that they’ve got the right equipment, and the right resources in the right place, at the right time.

“You are absolutely right, it is something that we are well aware of. Salt gets borrowed, and it’s never replaced. We do try and be as efficient as we can and we use the latest information available in terms of making sure resources are in the right place at the right time.”

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