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Salt stores to be ready for next big chill

Three out of four Dublin county councils are almost doubling rock salt storage capacity in case of another catastrophic winter.

South Dublin County Council (SDCC), Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) and Fingal County Council (FCC) are acquiring new salt barns.

SDCC is spending tens of thousands of euro on its new salt barn in Palmerstown, which will increase its reserves by 750 tonnes.

Philip Murphy, from SDCC's Roads and Transportation department, said: "We hope to have it completed this year. We have an existing barn already in Ballymount and this will serve another part of the county and boost storage facilities."

The details of the project still have to be discussed with the National Roads Authority (NRA), which is buying the salt, but the council is tendering for its construction.

He added: "In the last cold spell, we used 4,000 tonnes. The plan is to have it finished by the end of the year, and it'll double the storage capacity. This is a joint venture with the NRA. We're making the site available and the barn but [the salt] is funded by the NRA."

The NRA is purchasing 80,000 tonnes for the country's roads in advance of next winter, after admitting that January's big freeze is a "lesson learned".

And FCC is currently making provisions for an extra 1,000 tonnes of salt this year, while its previous stocks have amounted to around 800 to 900 tonnes.

A spokesperson said: "We traditionally store supplies of salt for roads at our roads depots in Coolmine and Swords, and there is a limited storage facility at Balbriggan."

"This year, we will have an additional storage facility at Lissenhall, near Swords. We are making provision for an additional 1,000 tonnes of reserve salt stock."

DLRCC's new Ballyogan Depot will hold 1,000 extra tonnes.

A spokesperson said the council's salt barn in Sandyford would still be available to hold approximately 500 tonnes.

He said: "There have been no arrangements made with the NRA for the delivery of salt as of yet, as this is normally done in October and December to ensure sufficient salt is available during the Christmas period."