2 December 2014

First outing for city gritters

Gritters were out and about on hilltops in Brighton & Hove last week as temperatures dipped below freezing for the first time this year.

With more cold weather forecast for later in the week, council workers are gearing up for the first cold snap this winter.

Keeping the city safe and moving during severe weather is a huge operation, which takes year round planning, collaboration and improvement and ranges from ploughing and gritting up to 191 miles of roads and pavements, to protecting the most vulnerable in the city.

“We can't treat every road, but prioritise those which will help keep the city moving as much as possible such as  busy areas, bus routes and emergency service access,” explained Head of Highways Operations Christina Liassides.

“If snow falls, then gritting  is only  effective on very light flurries. No matter how much pre-salting we do, heavier snow will always settle on the roads and pavements.

“When this happens, we start ploughing and using a salt/grit mix to clear the layers of snow and compacted ice.  These treatments take place during and after snowfall, where the aim is to clear the main roads as soon as possible.”

She added that a map on the council’s website shows the main gritting routes.

During the most severe weather more than 60 members of staff will be working on our winter service.

Our ‘winter workers’ include:

Highway operators, who plan and manage the entire service including buying the salt and grit.
Cityclean staff driving the gritting vehicles, and shovelling and sweeping snow and ice off the pavements.
Cityparks workers who use tractors to help move large grit piles around the city to where it is most needed.
Environment Contact Centre advisors, based at the Cityclean depot, who give information and advice to hundreds of residents.
Communications staff who manage news and information through the web, wave, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and press releases to local media.
Members of the Emergency Planning & Resilience team who coordinate other council services such as public health, and adult social care to support vulnerable people.

We will also provide support for residents and community groups, who want to set up schemes to support one another during severe weather.

This includes providing more than 400 grit bins across the city for residents to use.​ We can also provide additional large bags of grit at up to 45 locations across the city during prolonged cold weather.

We encourage resident to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable people may have needs around food, medicine or care. Why not pop in now and introduce yourself? Our adult social care team can help if they have problems getting the services they need.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee said: “Council employees are making a huge effort to be prepared in an emergency this year, but there is only so much we can do.

“It is vitally important that communities come together and help one another when there is severe weather, from helping to clear snow to co-ordinate information and reaching vulnerable people.”

For more information, and to find out how you can help your community visit our winter maintenance and winter safety pages. You can also follow @BrightonHoveCC for updates and use the twitter hashtag #BHSnow.