The Gritty Truth
by Becky Harrison |
posted 15 February 2021
There was a 29% drop in the average number of days councils in the UK spent gritting roads between winter 2017/18 and winter 2019/20, according to new research by Citroën UK.
A Freedom of Information Request to UK councils found the average number of days each council gritted roads in the country fell from 74.0 to 52.5 between 2017/18 and 2019/20, representing a 29% reduction.
This is despite the freezing temperatures in 2018 when ‘The Beast from the East’ hit the UK with the harshest winter conditions recorded since 2010, according to the Royal Meteorological Society. During this period, a number of regions in the UK experienced temperatures well below the average recorded between 1981 and 2010, along with significant snowfall.
Research by the Asphalt Industry Alliance also shows an average annual road maintenance budget shortfall of £4.9 million per local highway authority in England and Wales in 2020, with councils in need of further funds to maintain roads.
Councils in the north of the country were found to be most active, with Scottish Borders Council spending on average 203 days of the year gritting roads over the three-year period, while Northumberland County Council spent 144 days in total on the task.
The research comes as the country braces for yet another cold spell and risk of dangerous road conditions – especially in exposed areas. Just over half of the councils that answered the Freedom of Information Request told Citroën UK they had specific Snow Routes in place, which receive priority treatment during periods of heavy snowfall and sustained periods of freezing temperatures.