Nottinghamshire County Council defends gritting operation after snow causes chaos

Several people help to push a car pass an abandoned coach as severe snow storm hits Mansfield Woodhouse in the East Midlands, England
Several people help to push a car pass an abandoned coach as severe snow storm hits Mansfield Woodhouse in the East Midlands, England

Nottinghamshire County Council have defended their gritting scheme after a tirade of criticism from drivers, residents and councillors.

Many have spoken out against the council’s apparent lack of gritting on the towns’ roads.

But the council have hit back saying they have been out continuously since the heavy snow storm of Boxing Day - and grit isn’t ‘magic dust’ to eliminate snow.

Coun Kevin Greaves, chairman of the Council’s transport and highways committee, said: “The County Council has faced a lot of unfair criticism over the last couple of days,”

“The facts are that we did everything we could to deal with the heavy snowfall on Boxing Day night which arrived much earlier than all the weather forecasts were predicting.

“We were expecting rain first – during which you can’t grit as it would wash away – followed by snow, but in the event the snow came almost immediately.

“Our crews reported early for duty as soon as it became clear what the situation was and within 20 minutes were out on the roads

“No amount of gritting, however, can prevent that amount of snow from settling on our roads.

“Grit isn’t magic dust – it needs vehicle movement to help activate it and mix it with the snow and on Friday night there were very few vehicles on the road.

“In fact, in some places our gritting crews were the only people out and about and I would like to pay tribute to them for doing such sterling work. People often forget that the roads are just as treacherous for the gritters as they are very often the first vehicles on the roads.”

The Council is urging people to be good neighbours during the icy weather and help clear residential roads, paths and pavements by following the Government’s Snow Code – which gives clear advice on clearing snow and ice safely.

“The County Council is better prepared than ever for this winter and remains committed to playing its part by salting and gritting the main roads across Nottinghamshire,” added Coun Greaves.

“But despite what many people think, we have never gritted residential streets – unless they are also main routes – as we simply don’t have the capacity.

“Our priorities are to get the main roads and key public transport corridors passable as quickly as we can so that emergency services and as many people as possible are able to undertake essential journeys.”