Snow joke - Hertfordshire gritters will not be sent out until it is even colder this winter

Gritters will not be sent out onto Hertfordshire’s road until it gets colder this year - despite the move only offering “minimal” savings.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 12:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 1:28 pm

Until now a surface temperature of 1C could have been enough to trigger the county council’s gritting operation.

But on Monday (September 23) members of the county council’s cabinet agreed to lower that temperature to 0.5C.

That is likely to mean the number of times the roads are gritted will be reduced.

The move was backed by the county council’s executive member for highways and environment, Cllr Phil Bibby.

And in support of the change he pointed to more accurate weather forecasting and the location of the county’s temperature sensors in areas that were vulnerable to the cold.

The change is predicted to make “minimal savings” to the council’s £3.42million winter services budget.

But council officers have said it will bring the county in line with ‘some’ other authorities and there will be some environmental benefits.

Meanwhile it was also reported that the county council is looking to introduce a gritter tracking service this year - enabling residents to see an online ‘snail trail’ of where the gritters have been.

However a proposed review of salt bins on high priority footways had been delayed.

According to the review of last year’s winter service, there was precautionary salting on 42 occasions - which was lower than the previous five-year average of 54.

On each occasion 2,500km of the county’s roads are covered - with the council spreading a total of 10,904 tonnes of salt over the winter period.

Before giving the go-ahead for precautionary gritting, council staff consider weather forecasts and the amount of water on the roads - in addition to surface temperature.

It was previously reported to a meeting of the county council’s highways and environment cabinet panel that had the trigger temperature been 0.5C last winter the roads would have been gritted on 40 occasions.