Winter gritting

Winter gritting FAQs

Which roads do you grit?
We don't have the resources to grit every road across the borough so we prioritise the most important areas and only grit these.  We grit primary routes when we expect frost, ice or snow.  Secondary routes and primary footways are only gritted when we have snow conditions.

Why don't you just grit every street?
We maintain over 2000 adopted streets at public expense - 543km of carriageway and 985km of footpaths. It is not feasible or financially viable to grit all roads.  In times of frost, ice and snow our priority is to keep roads clear and safe on primary routes, secondary routes and primary footpaths.

How do you decide when to grit?
Throughout the winter season we monitor weather conditions and interpret the information provided by our contracted weather centre.  We receive four forecasts per day and these give predictions of the possibility of freezing road temperatures or snow.

What happens when we have snow conditions? 
When snow has been forecast we expand our network from primary routes to cover secondary routes and primary footways.  We spread rock salt on the  roads to stop snow from settling an becoming compacted.

The impact of using salt alone takes longer to take effect, which may lead to the public to believing that we haven't gritted the roads, when in fact we already have.  Spreading salt and the movement of vehicles on the snow is what helps to turn the snow to slush and clear the roads.

Who carries out the gritting?
The council's highway contractor carries out the gritting operations.

How does gritting actually work?
When a road is gritted, the movement of traffic is needed to mix the salt with the moisture of the road surface for it to be totally effective.

Do you grit near schools?
During settled snow conditions we apply grit for 30 metres either side of the school gates where the school's entrance is onto the public highway.  This only applies to council-run schools, supplementary and special schools in the borough.  We do not grit paths or roads within the school's boundary.

Can you grit my street?
If your road is not on the gritting schedule then it is very unlikely that it will be added to the schedule in the near future.

Can you provide a salt bin for my street?
The council no longer provides salt bins on the public highway for use by residents.

What if I want to clear snow outside my home?
The Department for Transport (DFT) advises that you shouldn't' be put off clearing paths because your're afraid someone will get injured.  Remember people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves. The DFT's advice about clearing your path or driveway.

Can you sell salt/grit to residents?
The council does not sell salt. It can be purchased at a variety of DIY stores or builders merchants.

How can road users help?
There is a responsibility on everyone to drive carefully especially during winter weather.