MORE than 30,000 tonnes of salt are being stockpiled from the start of next month to help combat Lancashire’s next big freeze.

Heavy snowfalls have been predicted as early as October and November this year in long-range forecasts, with Scotland and northern England expected to bear the brunt of the flurries.

Nearly £4million has initially been set aside to tackle icy conditions by Lancashire County Council, which covers Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancs and Wyre, after stocks of salt and grit ran low last year.

Up to 800 tonnes of salt can be used in a single precautionary gritting run.

Environment experts have reviewed the results of Lancashire’s response to the cold snap of November and December and the relatively milder January, February and March.

The priority gritting routes network is being examined to see whether any new additions are needed to the 49-strong list.

County engineers have rejected calls to include more bus routes on the gritting rotas, due to the proliferation of services across Lancashire.

But they have pledged to work with district and parish councils to ensure the pathways around hospitals, schools, and bus and railway stations, are kept relatively clear.

Trial partnerships with farmers and contractors, offering plant equipment to help clear snow, will continue after 30 responses were received last year.

Environment official Phil Barrett said: “The budget set aside to deliver the winter service in 2011/12 is £3.9m.

“This is a demand-led service dependent upon the weather, and service provision will continue beyond this budget if necessary.”

Last year just over £4million was budgeted by county councillors but the final bill ended closer to £5.5million.

The most recent countywide ‘Living in Lancashire’ survey revealed 52 per cent were ‘satisfied’ with the 2010-11 winter pressures response, compared with just 36 per cent the previous year.