THERE are enough gritter drivers across Hampshire this winter, despite shortage warnings from other councils.

Hampshire County Council have reassured residents after warnings that the lack of lorry drivers could also mean a shortage of gritter drivers.

Fears have been raised this could lead to Britain’s roads becoming particularly dangerous this winter if they become covered with snow and ice and cannot be cleared efficiently.

The shortage of lorry drivers has also been hindering councils from collecting bins in recent weeks.

Problems could also be worsened if drivers are lured to private sector work, with firms offering high salaries and signing on fees to tackle their own shortages, the Local Government Association said.

However, Hampshire County Council has insisted that it currently has enough drivers to combat the shortage.

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, executive 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.

“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.

“Hampshire roads are prioritised in line with the County Council’s Winter Maintenance and Severe Weather Response Plan. Our first priority routes account for around 30 per cent of the entire county road network – 1,796 miles of road. and these carry the majority of all traffic.

“They comprise main ‘A’ class roads, many ‘B’ class roads, access roads to emergency services establishments and other areas of high traffic concentration.”

A senior government minister this week disclosed that only about 20 foreign lorry drivers have been granted temporary visas to work in the UK.