Snow Clearing Aberdeen

Rock Salt and Grit Spreading Services in Aberdeen

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Interesting Facts About Winter Gritting

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  • 26-09-2019
Interesting Facts About Winter Gritting

Interesting Facts About Winter Gritting

In the Uk public services offer road gritting for major public roads during the winter months. This means we don’t need to worry as much about slippy roads during below-freezing temperatures.

We are lucky enough that local and regional authorities apply grit (otherwise known as rock salt) to road surfaces in preparation for commuting drivers.

However, there’s more to it than waking up to find a ready-salted road. The responsibility of ensuring safe roads comes with a number of considerations, such as:

  • The temperatures of both the air and road
  • Applicable traffic patterns
  • Weather progression
  • Route planning and prioritising
  • Highway budgeting

Thus, ensuring road safety during freezing temperatures can be a huge task. The crews who disperse grit as well as their supervisors complete the task efficiently and with expertise, allowing us a safe commute.

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About UK Road Gritting

Total Distance Covered

Many highway authorities are responsible for gritting nearly 90% of the roads in the UK. These authorities range from residential, country, and metropolitan jurisdictions.

For example, your local council might have authority over the main roads within your town’s limits. However another authority who is responsible for the country roads.

Highway authorities maintain over around 225 thousand miles of road. In England and Wales, there are nearly 80 thousand miles of roads which require regular highway authority treatment.

Councils generally have help from volunteers known as grit wardens to treat the less-travelled roads. However, there are some areas which are covered by private winter maintenance companies.

Not all Roads are Accessible

Gritting the roads across the country is an expensive job, one that costs the UK hundreds of millions of pounds. However, this is not the deciding factor in which roads get gritted and which ones don’t.

One of the UK’s charms can be found in their winding country roads that meander through quaint villages. However, this is precisely the problem.

These roads can be too small and thus inaccessible to the lories that spread the grit. Thus, in most of these inaccessible locations, grit bins along the side of these roads.

Please note that councils warn that the salt in the bins is to be used only for public roads and walkways, and not for personal, private use.

Road Surface Temperatures Matter

The weather forecast is good for giving us an expectation of the temperatures to come. However, what the air and road temperatures reflect is rarely the same as what has been forecast.

To ensure efficient gritting (that is, to make sure it’s being spread cost-effectively to eliminate waste). Some road authorities have implemented the use of high-tech road sensors which determine the road surface temperatures.

Authorities use a combination of this data as well as the local forecast to judge whether or not to apply grit to the roads.

The Cost of Grit Salt

Salt is fairly inexpensive in large quantities, such as on a tonne by tonne basis. However, the UK uses quite a bit of it, which means that it requires a larger budget specifically for grit. However, relatively speaking, this is a small price to keep roads open and safe.

How Much Salt is Used

Each year varies depending on the weather, and thus it can be difficult for councils to approximate how much grit they’ll need from one year to the next.

For example, during the 2011/12 winter, councils used roughly 700 thousand tonnes of salt, far less than the previous winter, which used over a million tonnes.

Thus, the usage of salt, to ensure that it lasts throughout the colder months, must be used wisely. However, what may be excessive one year, and vastly less in another, will average out over a five to ten-year cycle.


We offer rock salt spreading throughout Aberdeen, Peterhead, Dundee and Aberdeenshire. Follow the link below to find out more about the areas that we offer road gritting in north Scotland.