Council chiefs have warned that the latest service to be hit by the nation’s driver shortages could be road gritting.
Despite the addition of 120 gritters to this year’s roads, the driver crisis may prevent them from being used to their full potential over the winter months. The caution comes from the Local Government Association (LGA), which is the national body for the UK’s local authorities.
In recent months, some councils have had difficulty keeping waste collection services running due to the current shortage of HGV drivers. Councillor David Renard, transport spokesperson for the LGA commented on the impact this could have on gritters:
“While most councils have been able to keep services running, some may find that their gritting services are affected in the same way that some have seen waste collection services impacted. As they do every year, councils will be working proactively to plan ahead and ensure that their winter services are as resilient as they can be.”
The LGA has commented that the training of new drivers offers the best long term solution to the problem, ensuring local councils can replenish their staff as necessary in future. Until this happens, the issue of driver shortages is likely to prove a challenge over the winter.
“Fast inflating HGV driver salaries in the private sector risks exacerbating issues in the public sector, with the rises potentially creating a retention as well as a recruitment problem for councils and their contractors.
“We want to work with (the) Government to address these short term staffing issues to ensure people across the country can continue to receive the services they rely upon.”