MOTORISTS faced treacherous journeys in and around York today, with weathermen warning of widespread ice on any untreated roads.

About an inch of snow fell in York yesterday, with more in higher areas such as the Wolds, and forecasters said the bitterly cold weather was expected to continue for the rest of the week.

Temperatures in York are forecast to fall as low as -6 C tonight, and rise no higher than -2 tomorrow, although little additional snow is expected in the next few days.

York Liberal Democrat councillor Nigel Ayre claimed that 170 salt bins remained empty in the city yesterday because City of York Council did not consider the cold snap to be ‘severe’ weather.

Coun Ayre said he had asked for the empty salt bins to be refilled in his ward, Heworth Without, but he had been informed by officers that the current weather did not warrant this and the bins would remain empty overnight.

“With temperatures due to reach -6 and more snow forecast for later in the week, this is a risky move by the council,” he said.

“I am not sure how bad things have to get or how many residents need to fall over before they take action.”

But Coun David Levene, Labour’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “In addition to all core salt bins being filled, should the weather become severe then action will be taken swiftly to get additional salt out to those areas most in need. Resident safety is important and we take the issue very seriously.”

A council spokeswoman said it planned to have gritters out on main roads in the city from 4am today, having been out on a full run yesterday afternoon, with tractors treating cycle paths and city centre footpaths.

She said the authority was well prepared for the big freeze, with about 2,700 tonnes of salt in stock out of a maximum capacity of 3,000 tonnes.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council said its 17-strong gritting fleet was sent out again yesterday evening to treat roads after the snow.

Several schools closed early in East and North Yorkshire yesterday because of the snow, including Driffield School, Warter primary, Langtoft primary and Barmby on the Marsh primary and several in the Dales, but no schools in York had to shut early.