First time snow plough use in March

Published Monday, 5 March 2018

Snow ploughs have been used for the first time in March to clear snow following drifting snow on Friday.

Snow ploughs were used in a snow clearance operation on Main Road, Biggin Hill and some country lanes following snow being blown from adjacent fields.  The use of snow ploughs in the borough is relatively rare, with ploughs only being used a handful of times in the last decade and never before in March.  Tractors fitted with ploughs were also used in the clearance operation. 

Over 1000 tonnes of salt was used last week in a ‘round the clock’ snow clearance and gritting operation designed to keep the 280 miles of priority routes across the borough clear of snow and ice.  Winter gritting crews remain on standby, ready to spread salt on potentially icy road surfaces if forecasts dictate this is necessary.

“Our gritting and snow clearance crews have been fantastic as have our waste collection crews and of course, Snow Friends too.  Thank you to all who helped out, checked on elderly neighbours etc. and especially to residents and others who have taken the time to thank staff for their efforts as this has meant a lot” said Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment. 

Councillor Huntington-Thresher added, “The range of conditions that we’ve seen in just one week was phenomenal but then that is why the weather is such a talking point!  We focus on the priority routes in the borough, retreating them regularly to keep them open, so critical services and other traffic can get about.  The timing of our salting operations are crucial and we have to rely on the forecasts, seeking to get this work as right as possible.”

Crews were also clearing snow and salting pavement areas in town centre pavements and other areas of high pedestrian footfall such as the approaches to schools and outside train stations.

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, such as last week, this is extended to 280miles.

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.

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