Our gritters carry out salting, gritting and snow ploughing. Treatments are carried out in order of priority and are normally completed before 7am.
Gritting in your area
You can get up to date information on gritting in your area on twitter or by listening to your local radio station.
You can also use our map to see where we grit. On the map select 'Add data', 'Transports and streets', 'Winter gritting routes'.
Priority one roads are treated as high priority, we aim to treat them within the first two hours, these include:
- 'A' class carriageways, such as main roads
- designated routes to emergency hospitals
Priority two roads are treated after, we aim to complete treating them, within four hours. These include:
- 'B' roads
- major roads carrying four service buses or more per hour between 6am and 10am
- roads serving emergency services
- public transport centres
- secondary schools and colleges
- roads with a slope over 10 per cent and carrying more than 1,000 vehicles per day
- main access roads to rural communities and villages
Minor roads leading to houses or farms are not gritted unless we have agreed to because of special circumstances.
Other roads are not gritted when frost or icy conditions are forecast but are after they become icy when all the priority one and two roads have been treated. This is only done when the this is likely to last for 24 hours or more.
Here are some common myths about snow and gritting:
Spreading salt on the road is only the start of the de-icing process. Movement of salt around the road by traffic is essential to complete the process. Overnight, when traffic levels are low, roads can remain icy for some time and people should take care.
Salt works by lowering the freezing temperature of water. This prevents ice or frost forming on the roads as it would otherwise, once the temperature of the road surface falls to 0°C. Salt usually loses its effectiveness once the temperature falls below -5°C and stops working at -10°C. Pre-salting the road forms a separating layer so if snow falls it doesn't freeze onto the road surface and can be ploughed off or churned off by traffic.
Salt only effectively melts snow when as much of it as possible is removed and traffic can move the salt around. To protect the road surface from ploughs we remove snow to around a depth of 20mm before spreading salt.
In the concentrations we use on our roads salt does not melt ice below minus 8°C and is less effective at temperatures below minus 5°C.
Anyone can clear snow and ice from the pavement outside their home or public spaces to prevent slips and falls - normal table salt will work. Don't be put off clearing paths because you're afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves. To clear snow and ice safely, follow advice from the Met Office.
Salt no longer sprays in all directions, covering the windscreens of cars and the legs of pedestrians. Computer-controlled mechanics now dispense the required amount of salt directly down onto the road. They can also 'throw' the salt to one side or the other to ensure the whole carriageway is covered even if the vehicle is driving down one side only.
However, this is not always a myth as the vehicle may not have reached the starting point of its treatment route, or maybe returning to the depot at the end of its route or to refill.
Salt bins are provided for members of the public to use during icy conditions. They are only provided in residential areas next to shopping areas, part way up hills with a slope over 10 per cent or where there are special circumstances.
You can ask us to top up any current salt bins in your area. Please use the form instead of calling the emergency line.
Footpaths and cycleways
We don't grit footpaths and cycleways before they become icy. We grit them where there is snow or ice which is likely to last for over 24 hours and as soon as we have people available. Busy footpaths and ones with special circumstances are gritted first. These include footpaths in shopping areas, outside hospitals and around schools.