Gritters hit Derbyshire roads as council prepares for winter

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GRITTERS have hit the county’s roads for the first time this season.

Vehicles were out last week and will now treat roads at different times, not just night, in changes to Derbyshire County Council’s winter operation.

Hundreds of snow wardens and farmers have offered to help and the council has said there are 24,000 tonnes of grit in stock – 24 days worth and double the amount of last year, when extreme snow caused havoc and saw the council face heavy criticism from some residents.

But Cllr Simon Spencer, council deputy leader and cabinet member for highways and transport, warned that while they would do their best, motorists could still face problems.

He said: “We have to be realistic about it, I’m not going to sit here and tell you we can combat every issue as it comes along.

“We’ve got 3,500 miles of roads in Derbyshire. We grit half of them, we do our best with the resources we’ve got.

“The fact other people are involved is a good thing but there’s always going to be issues and it depends on the type of snow and how long it lasts.

“If it comes about that we do face severe winter conditions we will put every bit of resources we’ve got into trying to tackle that.”

Since February the council has worked to improve its winter service, liasing with all other councils, setting up a three-tier gritting system and encourage more people to help communities.

Improving communication and getting grit out to villages has also been a focus. A final report goes to cabinet next week and there remains £4.5m of funding for the service, said Cllr Spencer.

The Health and Safety Executive has also praised the council’s move to involve communities in the snow effort.

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