It is a sight more common during a cold snap, but yesterday gritters were scrambled to strengthen roads which began melting in the heatwave.
Local authorities in Cumbria, Lancashire, Doncaster and Hampshire were among those spreading crushed rock into the deteriorating tarmac which had started to stick to car tyres.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Many motorists could be forgiven for thinking the sight of gritters on the road in the summer is a mirage caused by the heat.
“But they should actually be relieved councils have taken action as road surfaces could easily suffer hard-to-repair long-term damage.”
As the hot weather showed no signs of abating the first official hosepipe ban came into force in Northern Ireland, while taps ran dry in the home counties as water companies said they were struggling to keep the pipe pressure high enough for the increased demand.
Britons enjoyed the hottest temperature of the year for the fourth day in a row on Thursday as the mercury rose to 91.4F ( 33C) in Porthmadog in Wales.
As the temperatures soared, trains were cancelled in Cumbria and Northen Ireland and speed restrictions put in place in London because railway tracks began to buckle.
And the heatwave is set to continued into the weekend and next week. Saturday could see highs of 84.2F (29C) in England and Scotland, 80.6F (27C) in Northern Ireland and Wales, and predicted highs of around 87.8F (31C) in some parts of the UK by Monday.
The forecast will make bleak reading for firefighters and soldiers battling the ongoing incident on Saddleworth Moor in north-west England as no significant rainfall is forecast in the coming days.
Parts of Saddleworth Moor have been alight for six days, with firefighters saying it could take weeks to extinguish.
Yesterday a row broke out between conservationists and grouse moor estates who both blamed each other for causing conditions on the moor which started the fire. Gamekeepers often burn land to get rid of dead heather and provide food and nesting for grouse.
Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The burning has to stop. Saddleworth conflagration is a direct result.”
Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors (BBYM) also said it was ‘undeniable’ that the management of the morrland for grouse shooting had allowed the fire to take hold.
“Excessive heather management and draining in order to engineer unhealthily high populations of game birds for the guns has dried out the land, removing the natural fire barriers which come with wetted peat bog.”
However, in a letter in today’s Telegraph Richard May, who owns and manages three Peak District moors said it was a lack of burning that caused the problem.
“For decades gamekeepers on moorland managed for grouse have burnt heather to reduce combustible biomass, to create firebreaks and improve the habitat wildlife.
“Most of the Saddleworth moor has not had this level of intervention. Serious debate must be given to prevention over cure – to burning more firebreaks and to providing tracks to deploy fire equipment, water and fire fighters at danger points.”
His views were echoed by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust who said that the moors had been burned for thousands of years.
“These ancient skills have since been adopted by gamekeepers and conservationists alike – because they maintain this globally-rare habitat,” said director of communications Andrew Gilmuth.
A new moorland blaze – on Winter Hill, near Rivington, Lancashire – also broke out on Thursday with huge plumes of smoke visible from the area surrounding the moorland.
Firefighters are also still fighting a 500-metre long gorse fire on the Glenshane Pass in County Londonderry, more than 48 hours after it first broke out.
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said there was little chance that rain would extinguish any of the blazes: “There is a low probability of showers on Sunday. If they do bring some rainfall it would be in the South West but that will be very sporadic.”
Public Health England issued a warning saying the extreme heat may pose a risk to the most vulnerable while emergency services warned of the dangers of playing near water following the death of 13-year-old Ryan Eans, whose body was recovered from Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent earlier this week.
A 17-year-old boy was also found dead in the River Aire in Leeds in the early hours of Wednesday morning following a search and rescue operation while the body of a man was also recovered from a lake in Nutfield, Surrey, on Monday.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/29/gritters-scrambled-save-britains-roads-melt-heatwave/