Surrey CC has announced plans to open two new salt barns over the next three years and expand a third, as it revamps its salt storage approach.
The council plans to create a chain across the county that will distribute stocks more evenly and give it the opportunity to take a fresh look at where gritters are positioned and the routes they use. This could save on fuel costs, cut carbon emissions and allow a smaller fleet to cover the same routes in less time.
The council said cost of the new barns ‘is set to be covered by selling or leasing all or part of two less well-positioned sites’. A spokesman for the council told Transport Network the cost was between £3m and £3.5m, but that selling or leasing other sites was expected to bring in more than this.
In its announcement last Friday (29 April), the council noted that its gritting lorries were in action as unseasonable weather brought cold temperatures and snow flurries.
John Furey, cabinet member for highways said: ‘The current chilly temperatures and snow just go to show how important our gritting operation is to keeping traffic moving. These new salt barns will only improve that, although it wouldn’t have been possible without raising money from other sites given the severe strain rising demand for services such as adult social care is putting on our budgets.
‘It also gives us the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and look at planning better gritting routes from this new chain of depots that will save both time and money.’
The new barns will open over the next three years at Chertsey and Beare Green, near Dorking, while another barn at Merrow outside Guildford will be expanded. The quantity of salt stored in the east of the county will rise from 4,500 tonnes to 7,100.
Other councils also said their gritting teams were in action last week while some, such as Hertfordshire and Somerset, had already announced that their winter service had been stood down.
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire told Transport Network: 'Although we announced that gritting crews were stood down in mid-April, we actually still had crews on stand-by until the end of the month and they were called out on one occasion.'
'In the unlikely case that a gritting run becomes necessary after the night crews have been stood down, we still have adequate resources to utilise although the response would not be as immediate.'
Surveyor’s 25th Annual Winter Maintenance Conference, Cold Comfort 2016, takes place on 18th - 19th May at Manchester Central, Manchester, UK. To register click here: