IN response to Alan High’s letter, I would like to explain that, as the highway authority, our first priority is to concentrate our efforts on treating Hampshire’s main roads to ensure people can travel to work, school or college.

These routes carry around 85 per cent of all traffic.

When freezing conditions persist we also treat access roads to villages, local smaller schools, emergency and public services as well as shopping and health centres.

Owing to the size and design of the vehicles used to spread salt on these roads, it is not possible to salt pavements at the same time.

Roads or streets in residential areas are generally not included in the designated salting routes and so we rely on our borough council colleagues to assist with manually spreading salt on pavements near and in town and village centres.

I should point out however, that during the recent snowfall we had extra highways crews out in town centres early on the Saturday morning, supporting local district and borough council resources to keep the shopping areas open by clearing and treating footways in and out of towns.

On the Sunday this support was directed at clearing footways on routes to local schools.

Additionally, in recent years we have provided some 3,000 salt bins in communities across the county, and kept them stocked up with salt so that community groups and local residents can do their bit to help by spreading salt on roads and footways where they live. This salt works best if it is spread before snow falls or any ice forms.

As much as we would like to be able to, unfortunately we do not have the funding and capacity needed to include every pavement and footpath within our winter maintenance commitments.

The contribution made by our district partners, community groups and residents in terms of salting local roads and pavements is invaluable and to be commended.

Councillor Melville Kendall economy, transport & environment Hampshire County Council