Snow clearance gritting teams prepared for 24/7 operations

Published Thursday, 31 January 2019

With forecast snow predicted to cover the entire borough later today and overnight, gritting crews will be salting the 200 miles of priority routes this afternoon.

The gritting crews will then remain on standby, ready to act later in the evening and overnight when snow is predicted, with low temperatures also then causing potential icy road conditions. Local residential side streets are not part of the council’s gritting or snow clearance operation, with volunteer resident Snow Friends concentrating their efforts in these residential locations.

Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, “Our gritting crews will be salting 200 miles of priority routes this afternoon, ready for predicted snow and also prior to this evening’s peak traffic period.  We are reliant on weather forecasts and will act accordingly but it is then probable that we will again be salting the 200 miles of priority routes to ensure as far as possible they are clear of snow and ice.”

Councillor Huntington-Thresher said, “It is not uncommon for rain to be mixed in with sleet and snow and these are challenging scenarios from a gritting perspective as the salt can be washed away and it’s common sense for motorists to take extra care and exercise caution in adverse weather.  I would like to thank the many Snow Friends who are also on standby to help clear snow from their street and behalf of us all, thank you.  It looks like the snow weather will not continue into the weekend locally but we are prepared throughout the winter season, salting priority routes whenever icy road conditions are predicted.”

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 focus salting operations on the main 200 miles of road out of the 500 miles of borough roads, with snow clearance also taking place on these routes if needed.  When snow falls, the snow needs to be removed from the road, often with a squeegee or snow plough, and then salt is applied.  The dedicated fleet is then supplemented with other vehicles to assist with snow and ice removal. 

Snow clearance and salting on high footfall areas will also take place, with this labour intensive process focussed on town centre shopping areas, approaches to schools and transport interchanges.

For gritting progress and updates, a video of salting roads and more, go to

Snow Friends work as a group with a nominated co-ordinator or with a local community group or Residents Association.  Interested residents are invited to join the 4500 Snow Friends and visit  The interactive map can be used to find the nearest group to join.  Alternatively, the online form can be used to register interest in forming a new group.


  • Editor’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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