Britain’s snow salt stockpiles are almost 150,000 tonnes below the recommended level.
The revelation is contrary to assurances made by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond who two weeks ago said he was “Pretty confident” the government had enough salt in reserve.
The shortfall, which Hammond admitted to in the Commons, comes despite warnings as far back as last winter that the country had run out.
A report published in March warned that 250,000 tonnes of salt were needed for the start of winter, but Britain currently holds 107,000 tonnes as a buffer for cold snaps like that which has gripped the country over the past week.
Hammond, who was sitting in the House of Commons, was pressed by Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle to explain why the findings of the Winter Resilience review were ignored.
“You are failing to recognise the scale of the weather event that is occurring. A significantly bigger snowfall than occurred earlier this year which gave rise to the events which caused my predecessor to implement this review,’ said Hammond.
Hammond requested an urgent review into the chaos on Britain’s roads, which have ground to a halt three days in a row.
But Labour MP Luciana Berger fired back: “Why are we having review after review after review instead of just getting on with the job?”
Salt supplies ran out within a week of heavy snowfall during last winter.