- The old question of how drivers of salt-spreading lorries get to work could soon be answered under government plans to recycle summer sunshine collected by Britain's roads and use it to keep them ice-free in winter.
The Highways Agency plans to install pipes underneath a section of road to gather solar energy in summer and recirculate it in winter.
Experts hope the scheme could be a way to treat the roads which are the first to freeze. Officials are also testing the technology to heat and cool buildings, cut energy bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
If successful, the pilot scheme could be extended to more roads.
An agency spokeswoman said a final decision on which trunk road to use for the trial would be made this year. The road should have maintenance work scheduled so that delays to the public are minimised, she added.
The scheme, known as interseasonal heat transfer, or IHT, will lay a network of plastic pipes filled with water just below the road surface.
In summer, when road temperatures can reach 40C, the water is warmed and pumped to pipes insulated with polystyrene. In winter, when sensors detect the temperature at 2C, warm water is pumped back under the road to heat the ground and prevent ice forming.
Because of the significant...