Councils stockpile grit as temperatures drop
THOUSANDS of tonnes of road salt is being stored by council chiefs in the Bristol area in preparation for winter.
Bristol City Council has 900 tonnes of grit stored at its depot in Hartcliffe and 1,200 more tonnes are on order to use when conditions take a turn for the worse.
The authority has 750 grit bins in place across the city and 35 one-tonne salt bags ready to be distributed by snow wardens.
South Gloucestershire Council has 6,000 tonnes stored in Almondsbury and Engine Common which will be spread on icy roads by 11 new hi-tech gritting machines. Bath and North East Somerset Council has 2,000 tonnes of gritting salt stockpiled at its depot in Clutton.
17th Edition 8 way fuse boards prevent fires & improve electrical safety. Save £28 on 8 way fuse boards for a limited time only with A & D Electrical.
Terms: Bristol and Bath areas.
Contact: 0117 2448240
Valid until: Monday, May 20 2013
In North Somerset, highways chiefs say they have 2,000 tonnes of road salt ready. The authority’s fleet of gritters were out for the first time last week as temperatures started to plummet.
Two years ago the authority tripled the amount of road salt it is able to store – thanks to a purpose-built storage barn in Sandford.
The authority uses 30 tonnes of road salt each time it grits the road, with 29 per cent of the roads across the district being treated.
Last year the council used 1,300 tonnes of road salt over the winter period. During the winter months, the authority receives a daily forecast from the Met Office and uses this to decide whether to send out its fleet of gritters.
North Somerset Council spokesman Richard Turner said: “Our gritters were out for the first time on Friday night and Saturday morning due to the predicted low temperatures.
“We are confident we have enough supplies of salt to see us through a normal winter. Our salt barn at Sandford is fully stocked with 2,000 tonnes of salt and all the grit bins have been replenished. We are well prepared for the winter.”
Last year waste and recycling collections were disrupted due to the bad weather, forcing the council and contractor May Gurney to look at what contingency plans could be put into place. The authority salts 320km of the district’s road network – the equivalent of driving from Weston- super-Mare to Liverpool.
If snow falls overnight the authority, tasked with making savings of more than £80 million over the coming years, only has resources to focus on main roads – the A370, A38 and A369.
Major A roads will be ploughed as a priority, followed by other strategic B and C roads.
Decisions to salt roads are based on road temperature, not air temperature
The authority uses an average of 30 tonnes of salt on its routes each time they are treated, but in severe weather conditions, this can rise to 100 tonnes.
The authority has also set up a snow warden scheme across the district, which already has 40 volunteers signed up.
The snow wardens, being developed as part of the council’s community resilience network, will work in the local community to check resources, making sure grit bins are full and co-ordinating snow clearance in areas including high streets and outside schools.
The Met Office is yet to publish its long-range winter forecast but in its 30-day forecast, it says temperatures would be largely below average for the time of year and overnight frosts would become more widespread.
Mr Turner said: “Heavy snow and ice has hit the UK for three successive winters and, while last winter was much milder, preparations still need to be made to ensure people can cope if an Arctic blast blows in again this year.”
Anyone wanting to get involved with the snow warden scheme can visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/ communityresilience.