Nearly two thirds of councils in England are struggling to recruit HGV drivers to grit the roads this winter, according to data from the local government association (LGA).

It said 63% of authorities had struggled or were struggling to find skilled drivers for winter resilience activities.

Among those struggling, the most common measure adopted to deal with the problem was to train existing staff (86%), followed by relying on agency workers (55%).

Plummeting temperatures in the last week have caused widespread disruption to travel with snow causing blocked roads and the Met Office issuing warnings of ice, fog and snow for much of the UK.

However, it wasn’t just the recent cold snap that has forced councils to deploy their gritting fleets.

During the record breaking heatwave earlier this summer, nearly half of all councils relied on gritters to treat roads to prevent them from melting.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Transport spokesperson, said: “As temperatures start to plummet, councils are ready to work around the clock to grit roads and pavements to make sure that people are kept safe and local communities can get out and about.

“Councils have stockpiled millions of tonnes of salt and are using new and innovative technologies where they can to ensure those areas that are most treacherous are kept clear and safe for use.”