Getting salted for winter forecast

Published Monday, 26 February 2018

Approximately 80 tonnes of salt has been spread on the 200 miles of priority routes across the borough over the course of Sunday night and the early hours of Monday as ice and then snow was predicted

Crews were also salting town centre pavements and other areas of high pedestrian footfall such as on the approaches to schools and outside train stations.  The council’s gritting fleet and snow clearance teams are on standby, ready to clear snow and apply additional salt if needed.  Snow Friends, residents who have pledged to help clear snow from residential pavements, have also been alerted to the probability of snow locally, with further snow forecast for later this week.  

“Our gritting crews are typically among the most prepared in London, with one of the largest salt stocks available for use over the winter period.  Mindful of the low temperatures forecast for the entire week, we will be doing what we can to keep traffic across the Borough moving as ever but motorists should drive according to the conditions and remember that even with our extensive gritting programme, not every road will be gritted and remain reliant on local forecasts, which can and do change” said Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment. 

Councillor Huntington-Thresher added, “I would like to thank our Snow Friends for their highly valued commitment at this time, being willing to clear snow from their street.  In the event of snow, the first 24 hours is crucial from a clearance perspective, before it inevitably turns to ice and even if you’re not a ‘signed-up’ Snow Friend, if you are able to clear snow from outside your home, this would be a welcome help.” 

Salt is routinely used to prevent ice or frost forming.  To ensure that this is effective, in periods of more extreme wintry weather, salting needs to take place on a frequent basis.  The council’s nine purpose-built gritting vehicles, which are equipped with GPS tracking for accuracy, focus salting operations on the main 200 miles of road out of the 500 miles of borough roads and in periods of extreme weather, this is extended to 280 miles, which are then prioritised still further, with snow clearance only taking place on the priority routes.  The gritting vehicles and snow friend volunteers are further supplemented by grit bins strategically located across the borough’s roads. 

When snow falls, the snow needs to be removed from the road, often with a squeegee or snow plough, and then salt is applied.  In addition to snow clearance on roads included as a priority route, snow is also cleared from pavements in areas of high pedestrian footfall, including town centre locations and approaches to transport interchanges. 

Information about gritting routes and other related information, including information about when salting is due to take place is available at


Editors’s notes

  • The A21 and part of the A232 (West Wickham to Locksbottom) are maintained by Transport for London (TfL).  Consequently, TfL are responsible for gritting these roads, which form part of Red Route. 
  • For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Executive, on 020 8461 7670 or email