The UK government has ordered councils and the Highways Agency to halve their gritting levels as stocks of rock salt used to de-ice roads have run dangerously low.

The move is part of measures to enable key roads and motorways to stay open for the remainder part of the winter as the country battles the worst cold snap in nearly 30 years.

The move could also result in the closure of some major roads.

According to estimates, Britain’s main salt mines are producing nearly 15,000 tons a day, though the demand reached as high as 60,000 tons a day last week.