Minimum gritting will not affect service, say council bosses


Last updated Sep 28, 2021
A gritter out in Harrogate last winter.

A reduction in minimum salt spreading will not affect the gritting of North Yorkshire’s roads, county council bosses have said.

A report before the North Yorkshire County Council proposes lowering the minimum salting spread rate to 8g per square metre, which the authority says will save a further £75,000 during a “normal season”.

The council recently purchased 18 new gritters for £2.2 million to help spread salt more accurately and reduce the average age of its fleet.

The Stray Ferret asked the county council if lowering the minimum salt spread would mean that some of the new gritters would not be used this winter.

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Barrie Mason, assistant director of highways and transportation at the authority, said the proposal would not affect the “number of gritter runs”.

He said:

“The continual investment in our winter fleet ensures that we have vehicles that are able to spread salt at the appropriate spread rate in line with our winter service policy and industry best practice.

“The number of gritter runs is unaffected by the change in salt spread rate which aims to achieve more efficient use of salt, and routes will continue to be treated in line with our policy and prevailing weather conditions.”

The proposal to reduce the minimum salt spread proved controversial on social media, with some raising concern over the value to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Cllr Stuart Parsons, leader of the authority’s Independent group, said residents “paid through the nose for the county council’s services”, so they should be able to expect some returns.

True grit – facts about North Yorkshire gritters

  • With an annual gritting budget of £6 million, the county council grits 4,440km of road and make 6,687 runs in a typical year. Around 6,287 routes were treated last year.
  • The county’s gritters are responsible for one of England’s largest road networks.
  • With 86 gritters, 107 farm contractors, five road snowblowers and seven footway snowblowers at its disposal, the county council is able to treat roads between October and April.
  • 55,000 tonnes of salt is stocked in preparation for winter and the authority has 14 weather camera set up to keep an eye on the roads.
  • Crews are on call 24 hours a day and are usually out at 5am to grit the county’s road network.

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