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Winter gritters safe from HGV driver shortage, says Hampshire County Council

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ONGOING shortages of HGV drivers should not affect road gritting – that is the message from Hampshire County Council as winter approaches.

A nationwide shortage of HGV drivers – believed to have been sparked by both Brexit and Covid-19 – have led to some shortages at supermarkets and petrol stations, writes David George of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cllr Russell Oppenheimer, HCC cabinet member for highways operations, said: "Clearly I am aware of the current national shortage of HGV drivers but fortunately, our highways service is already well resourced with 43 dedicated gritters and sufficient drivers, including to enable continuous operations when needed.

Hampshire Highways' gritting lorry 'Grittersaurus'
Hampshire Highways' gritting lorry 'Grittersaurus'

"They are all HGV qualified and trained for snow and icy conditions.

"Currently the county council’s service provider, Milestone Infrastructure, is actively recruiting and training new drivers in order to ensure that we can maintain our winter service when demand peaks or is prolonged, as well as provide additional resilience to cover for driver absence."

Cllr Oppenheimer added that A roads, most B roads and other high traffic areas will be the top priorities for gritters this winter.

Top priority routes account for roughly 30% of Hampshire’s road network – 1,796 miles in total.

National Highways has also introduced 120 new gritters across the country although Hampshire has not received any of these.

This was due to the region receiving a previous year’s batch of gritters, the agency said.

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