When ice is forecast for at least the next 24 hours or snow is forecast and we have the resources available after gritting the road network, we do grit the main pedestrian areas, such as those in town centres.
If we were to grit the entire road network, it would cost the Council Tax payer three times as much and if we were to grit pavements as well, it would cost many millions more. We have to strike a balance between keeping critical roads available and the very high cost of gritting, which has to be paid for by the public.
In extreme circumstances and following the completion of Main and Severe Weather Routes, some additional gritting may take place. Make an additional gritting request, all additional gritting requests are subject to resources, conditions and local issues.
Yellow grit bins
Yellow grit bins are provided and maintained by the County Council where at least one of the following conditions occur:
- The site is very exposed and severely affected by winter weather
- A junction hazard is present
- There is very high pedestrian movement, especially near local centres or the site is used regularly by the elderly, very young or mobility impaired.
It costs around £55 to refill each grit bin. They are refilled once we have gritted the road network and as long as grit is not in short supply. When conditions are particularly icy, it is difficult for the gritters to get to some grit bins on steep hills so we have to wait until the ice melts to get to those bins and refill them in readiness for the next frost. Unfortunately, grit bins can become empty because of the minority of residents who take grit for their own drives. Please only use this grit on roads, pavements and public paths.
You can report an empty grit bin online.
Blue grit bins
Residents and parish councils can contact the County Council to ask for a blue grit bin – so coloured to differentiate them from the Council's own yellow bins – which can be delivered, filled with salt, ready for use.
The cost of these bins is £150 and includes delivery and the initial filling of the bins. Last winter more than 100 bins were bought by parish councils, who become responsible for them once the initial salt has been used.
Once delivered, local residents become responsible for making sure the blue bin is kept full of salt and for spreading any salt on the road in severe weather.
To request a blue grit bin, contact the Customer Service Centre.
Gritting is necessary whenever ice is likely to form on roads. That means when it is forecast there will be moisture on the road and the road temperature will be 1C or below. As the air temperature falls, the road temperature often stays higher than the air temperature because roads retain heat from the sun longer than the air.
Ice may also have formed on your car, but not on the roads. Roads retain heat and do not cool down nearly as quickly as objects such as cars, and so frost on a car can be a misleading guide to whether gritting is needed on the roads.
Gritting in either situation would be a waste of our stocks and Council Taxpayers’ money.
Snow on the road
Gritting makes road surfaces safer but it cannot prevent frost appearing or snow falling. This winter we have been out gritting continuously on many nights, but if the weather is severe we cannot keep even continuously gritted roads entirely free of ice and snow.
The decision whether or not to close a school is taken by that school. We grit access roads to special schools as some of these children receive essential medical care at school. We cannot grit all side roads as we have to prioritise the main routes, but most Nottinghamshire schools are on or close to main gritting routes.
Gritting every road in the county would cost three times as much, which the Council Tax payer would have to fund. Even if all minor roads around schools were gritted, this would not necessarily mean they could stay open as teachers who travel long distances still might not be able to get to work
For details of schools forced to close due to weather or unforeseen problems, please see our school closures page.
The gritters have been hampered by poor parking and abandoned vehicles. We would ask drivers to park considerately and, if they have to abandon their vehicle, push it to the side of the road and notify the police on tel: 101.
We grit the major bus routes as a priority, so catch a bus, train or tram instead of driving. Plan your journey at Traveline East Midlands. If you really must drive, follow our winter driving advice.
It is the responsibility of drivers to be aware of road conditions and adjust their driving accordingly. This means driving in an appropriate manner for the road conditions and the weather, whether that is dazzling sunshine, rain or ice and snow.
You can spread grit or even ordinary table salt outside your property and clear snow from the road or pavement.
Clearing snow yourself
The Government has issued guidance saying it is highly unlikely anyone could be successfully sued for clearing snow as long as they are careful and use common sense to make sure they don't make the pavement more dangerous than it was before. People using areas affected by snow and ice also have a responsibility to be careful themselves.
This year we have increased the gritting budget to £2.79 million. We are better prepared than ever having 22,000 tonnes of salt being brought into stock, which is 12,000 tonnes more than government recommendations and 7,400 tonnes more than last year. We are doing our best to make sure grit stocks are replenished as we use them up. However, if Salt Cell, the Government’s national salt rationing system, comes into force, we will have no control over this and may find our salt deliveries diverted to other parts of the country. In that situation, we would use our supplies as wisely as possible to keep the road network as clear as possible.
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To receive updates about gritting, follow us on Twitter. We use the hashtag #grittertwitter on all gritting-related tweets.
To help you be safe on the road this winter read our winter driving advice.
You can read our full Winter Weather Plan on our Emergency Plans page.
For further information or enquiries:
The A46 and A1 trunk roads, M1, A52 and A453 in Nottinghamshire are maintained by Aone+ tel: 0844 372 8381.
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