Council Gritting Cut By Almost A Third

Wed 10th Feb 2021

Councils across the UK may be grabbing headlines with gimmicky campaigns to give their gritters ‘funny’ names, but according to new research, the vehicles aren’t seeing as much action as they used to.

Data from Citroen UK has revealed that the average number of gritting days fell by 29 per cent in the two year period between winter 2017/18 and winter 2019/20. Whilst the council’s responsible for the gritting regimes may argue that they only deploy the machines when the weather turns cold, and that might explain the drop, they have not factored in that the UK saw one of its coldest winters in 2018.

The Freedom of Information request which pulled in the data showed that the country fell from an average of 74 gritting days to 52.5 gritting days in the two year period, which suggests that local authorities may be cost-cutting at the expense of driver safety.

The 2018 ‘Beast from the East’ was the coldest winter conditions in almost a decade when it arrived in 2018, but at the same time, the Asphalt Industry Alliance has uncovered a £4.9million shortfall in annual road maintenance budget for every every local highway authority in England and Wales.

Councils argue that they have designated ‘snow routes’ which receive priority during colder spells, but you have to ask the question, when was the last time the gritters came down your main road?

Eurig Druce, Managing Director of Citroën UK, said: “Driving during the winter months is more of a challenge with shorter daylight hours and difficult weather conditions making the roads more dangerous. As a brand, we are committed to providing customers with cars that are safe and easy to drive, which is why our models offer a range of driver assistance systems including Grip Control® with Hill Descent Assist, for added peace of mind.”