Gritters out for the first time this winter as Leicestershire gears up to tackle bad weather

“Our team provided an excellent service last winter and were called out 66 times - spreading more than 8,000 tonnes of salt – and we are keen to minimise any potential disruption.”

By Philip Hibble
Thursday, 5th November 2020, 10:48 am
Updated Thursday, 5th November 2020, 10:52 am
Cllr Trevor Pendleton at Leicestershire County Council's Mountsorrel highways depo with their salt supply and one of their gritters.
Cllr Trevor Pendleton at Leicestershire County Council's Mountsorrel highways depo with their salt supply and one of their gritters.

Gritters went out for the first time this winter on Wednesday night as Leicestershire County Council gears up to tackle bad weather.

The authority received its first delivery of salt last month as it looks to build up its salt levels to more than 18,000 tonnes in preparation for the cold snap.

The salt has been sent to barns in Melton, Misterton, Mountsorrel, Market Harborough and Nailstone where gritters will roll out as required to keep the county’s roads moving.

Cllr Trevor Pendleton, the council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “As well as ensuring that people have access to our highways and cycle lanes during the pandemic, we have recently been preparing to tackle the winter season.

“Our team provided an excellent service last winter and were called out 66 times - spreading more than 8,000 tonnes of salt – and we are keen to minimise any potential disruption.”

He added: “We will monitor the weather constantly and if freezing temperatures are forecast, our fleet of gritters will be ready to treat major roads and key routes, which equate to more than half of the county's road network.”

In addition to gritters, there are also snow wardens based in communities across the county who grit paths, as well as farmers who during deep snow, fit ploughs to their tractors and assist the council in clearing roads.

The authority is working with parish and town councils to encourage more people to sign up to its Snow Warden Scheme and help keep the county moving during the winter.

Residents are also being encouraged to prepare themselves for the cold season by following a few simple steps:

Familiarise yourself with the gritting routes and keep up to date with local weather using the local radio or following the council on Twitter;

Make sure you have your seasonal flu vaccination. Washing your hands will help avoid transmitting coronavirus, cold and flu viruses. Free flu vaccines are offered to people considered to be at risk, more information can be found by visiting www.nhs.uk/staywell/

Keep your home warm. Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed. The county council’s Warm Homes service helps vulnerable people to save hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills, for advice visit www.firstcontactplus.org.uk or call 0116 305 4286.

For more information on winter maintenance in Leicestershire, and for advice about winter driving and snow clearance of the paths outside your property, visit www.leicestershire.gov.uk/winter-weather or follow the council on Twitter @LeicsCountyHall

COUNTY COUNCIL GRITTING FACTS

A full gritting run covers 47 per cent of the county’s road network (1,300 miles) and takes between four and five hours;

The county council has 23 gritters which spread roughly 200 tonnes (dependent on spread rates) of the specially treated rock salt and molasses mix each night, covering around 1,300 miles of highway each time they go out;

Footpaths are not gritted by the county council;

The 757 salt bins across the county can be used by members of the public to treat public roads or footpaths – salt from these bins should not be used on private property;

Gritter drivers are on standby every night and spread salt whenever there is a likelihood of frost, ice or snow affecting roads.