What Is Winter Gritting?
Winter gritting is the process of spreading salt or grit on roads, car parks, footpaths and other surfaces to prevent ice from forming, or to melt existing ice and snow. It is typically carried out by local authorities and specialist winter maintenance contractors during the winter months when cold weather and rain make ice formation more likely.
Grit and de-icing salt work by lowering the freezing point of water, meaning that it takes a lower temperature for water to freeze when it is mixed with salt or grit. This helps to prevent ice forming, which makes surfaces such as roads, car parks and footpaths safe for pedestrians and vehicles.
Winter Gritting is most effective when done before the road surface temperature reaches freezing point, as this helps to prevent ice from forming in the first place. Gritting can also be done during or after a weather event, and during severe weather conditions, gritters may need to make multiple runs over the same surfaces to keep them clear of ice and snow. Winter Gritting can be challenging during the winter’s coldest days in the UK, as salt becomes less effective when temperatures drop well below freezing.
Winter Gritting has many benefits and has become a standard part of UK Businesses standard response to freezing conditions;
Reduces the risk of accidents and injuries caused by slipping and falling on icy roads and surface and improves road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Helping keeping sites open, safe and operational with distribution and traffic flowing smoothly.
Reduces the disruption to businesses and other activities caused by ice and freezing road conditions. Saves time and money and your reputation.
Winter Gritting Facts & Figures
In the 2022-23 winter season, UK councils ordered about 1.4 million tonnes of salt ahead of time. This is more than was used through all of the previous winter and 200,000 more tonnes than they had in stock ahead of the previous year’s gritting season.
National Highways, which is responsible for motorways and major A roads in England, has 535 gritters available, as well as 127 depots and 23 snow blowers.
There are around 250 weather stations located across the UK’s motorway network, which are used to monitor the weather around the clock and inform gritting decisions.
The Highland Council in Scotland is responsible for gritting the longest road network in the UK, at over 5,000 miles.
The most grit ever used in the UK in a single winter was 2.7 million tonnes in 2010-11.
Winter gritting is an essential service that helps to keep people and businesses safe during the winter months.
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With over two decades of expertise in winter gritting, OUTCO’s operational team has more experience than any other winter services provider in the UK