Highways departments are being advised to keep up with summer restocking in time for winter, despite the previous three seasons being relatively mild.
Councils can now make cost savings through discounted summer prices, as well as better securing their future supplies through a new, expanded salt supply framework from ESPO, a public sector buying organisation owned by six local authorities.
ESPO’s new framework-ESPO framework 220- has been awarded with all three main UK salt mines and a selection of importers, to ensure beneficial price competition and resilience of supply for buyers. Further reducing highways departments’ risk, all suppliers listed on the new salt framework have been assessed and approved by ESPO during the procurement process for their financial stability, track record, experience and technical & professional ability.
ESPO’s new agreement continues the supply of brown rock salt to British Standard (BS3247:2011) while offering buyers a wider range of associated de-icing products and services.
Buyers who order brown rock salt in bulk during the summer period, which runs from May to September each year, will pay less per tonne, instead of ordering during the winter period (October to April).
Despite another mild winter in 2015/16, stocks of salt used to de-ice motorways and major roads already have been partially depleted from precautionary gritting activity related to ground frosts which hit some areas of the country.
To effectively treat areas such as bridges where salt spreading may not be appropriate, ESPO’s agreement also provides a range of de-icing chemicals in liquid or granular form, including potassium acetate, magnesium chloride and sodium formate.
Gareth Smith, category manager at ESPO, told Surveyor: ‘The advantage of procuring through the ESPO framework as oppose to any other way is that we will do all the hard work for authorities in terms of risk assessment and approval of all suppliers to give them the best price and the most efficient service.’
David Davies, principal maintenance engineer & county fleet manager at Lincolnshire CC, one of the six member authorities that own ESPO said: ‘We have been using this type of framework for over 20 years and are fully supportive of the framework which has saved us money over a number of years.’
Further reducing highways departments’ risk, all suppliers listed on the new salt framework have been assessed and approved by ESPO during the procurement process for their financial stability, track record, experience and technical and professional ability.