November is here, and that means Nottinghamshire’s gritting teams move to full-time standby, ready for the winter ahead.
Each year the 31-strong fleet of gritters and their drivers go onto full-time, 24-hour standby marking the official start of winter for Nottinghamshire County Council and its highways partner Via East Midlands.
Last winter, gritting teams completed 70 gritting runs and travelled over 112,000 miles – equivalent to travelling four and a half times around the world!
Gritting forms just part of Nottinghamshire’s winter activity, with teams ready to respond to all types of severe weather and help keep the county’s highways safe and moving.
The first named storm of the winter season, Storm Babet, hit Nottinghamshire just over a week ago bringing significant flooding to some areas. Via’s Incident Response Team dealt with over 380 reports related to the storm.
Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Our gritting teams have begun their full-time standby duties, and are well stocked and ready for winter and whatever the conditions may throw at us.
“Our gritting teams go out whenever the forecast suggests that road temperatures are going to be at or below zero degrees and it won’t surprise you to hear that the majority of their work takes place while the rest of us are at home in the warm.
“Our main routes make up just over a third of Nottinghamshire’s road network – 1,121 miles to be exact and are made up of all A and B roads and major bus routes, but in times of severe weather, we also grit our secondary or severe weather routes and include one road to every major settlement and some steep residential roads as well as access routes to special schools.
“You can find our gritting routes on our website. That way, you’ll be able to look out for our friendly bunch of gritters and give them a wave if you see them pass by. You can view these routes by looking at the gritting maps on our website.
“There is a common misconception that just because someone hasn’t seen a gritter pass through their area, it must mean that they haven’t been out, but certainly isn’t the case. The average gritting run takes between three and four hours and so if you see on our social media channels that our gritters are due to go out from say 6pm or 7pm, this could mean that they may not pass through your area until long after you’re tucked up in bed!
“While our gritting teams are a significant part of how we keep you safe in the colder months, I cannot mention our winter teams without recognising that it is not just our gritting teams who will be busy during the colder months.
“For our drainage teams, heavy rain, storms and flooding can lead to a spike in demand for their services, and when high winds lead to fallen trees, it is the forestry team who will be called out.
“As for our emergency response team, their 24/7, 365 days-a-year role can be easily impacted by adverse weather and could see them dealing with anything from managing road closures, to delivering sandbags and putting out flood boards.
“Alongside this, our maintenance and repair teams will be actively working to repair roads from the damage that winter conditions cause, delivering patch repairs to road surfaces and focusing on keeping well-used roads in the county safe for road users.
“I’d like to thank all the teams in advance for all the work they’ll be doing to keep things moving and to keep everyone safe.”