Talking Point: Do we have enough resources locally to deal with adverse weather conditions?

Nick Chard, Kent County Council

Kent County Council’s highways winter service started on Friday 26th October 2018 and runs through to the 26th April 2019, so we make sure al likely inclement winter weather of snow and ice is covered. The Primary salting routes, which cover the A, B and other locally important roads in the county, are prioritsed for treatment. At the end of each winter season we consider if the salting routes need to be changed or amended. There are 60 gritters in place so that all our primary routes can be treated when required throughout the winter period. We use weather stations and our road-based sensors to determine if and when treatment is necessary.

Planning for winter also includes making sure that we have all the other resources we need to deliver an effective service. Our starting stock of salt was 23,000 tonnes and this is topped up during the year as we use it so that a prolonged winter can be catered for. Our salt is primarily stored in 6 purpose built and highways accessible depots around the county.

In addition to the 60 salting vehicles on standby, we have provided more than 100 farmers around the county with snow ploughs to be fitted to their tractors. Under a signed agreement, they are required to clear pre-determined rural routes when there is more than 50mm of snow on the ground. In the Sevenoaks area farmers are signed up to clear 19 winter routes.  KCC also provides a salt/sand mix to the district council, town and parish councils who utilise these to treat pre-agreed areas including town centres and more rural areas.

 

There are more than 2,000 salt bins located across the county. They are identified on a map on the KCC website, making it easy for anyone to find where their nearest salt bin is located.