LINCOLNSHIRE has never been better prepared for bad weather than it is right now.
That’s the message from Lincolnshire County Council after stockpiling 42,000 tonnes of salt - more than double what is normally required - and has no less than 48 gritters ready to keep the county’s roads and paths clear.
The county has prioritised its winter preparations after a record winter in 2010 saw more than 30,000 tonnes of salt used.
Area Highways Manager Mark Heaton said: “Making sure we are ready for winter is something that we do 365 days a year. We order our salt in the summer as it’s cheaper and vehicle maintenance takes place then too.
“Our delivery of 42,000 tonnes of salt in September means our stock levels are at their highest this year. We use around 18,000 tonnes a year normally, but needed just over 30,000 tonnes last year and the year before.”
Despite last winter being particularly cold and icy, the county council did not run out of salt and was even able to help other struggling authorities in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Lincolnshire buys its salt in the summer, when it is cheaper to do so, before stockpiling it in depots such as the one at Maddocks Park in Ancaster. This year’s salt has been imported from Egypt.
Mr Heaton said: “Last year we had particularly bad weather but we never ran out of salt. If other authorities are struggling again this year we can supply them again.”
The county council has 43 gritters and five spares which will cover specific routes including all A and B roads along with a main road to most villages.
Some gritters now have special GPS systems to aid with their work while the grit teams are prepared to hit the roads at just one hour’s notice.
As well as the gritters, there are around 1,800 grit bins around the county, which contain a mixture of salt and sand, with new bins in Grantham at Langford Gardens, Chichester Close, Cherry Wood Drive, Cotswold Drive and Guildford Close as well as Harlaxton and Denton.
Grantham’s new-look Market Place should also be safe for all.
Mr Heaton said: “The Market Place gets special treatment as one of our priority footpath routes, which means our contractors work together in partnership with SKDC to make sure this area is gritted in severe weather to help keep people on the move.”
Fortunately, nobody has to worry about the council stockpiling too much salt and seeing it go to waste as it can be held over for future years.
Mr Heaton said: “This stuff doesn’t go off so if there is mild weather we save and build up a war chest ready for a really bad year.”
South Kesteven District Council is working with the county council to ensure bin collection disruptions are kept to a minimum.
SKDC’s head of environmental services Dave Banks said: “Last year, despite terrible road conditions, our waste team was out every day and whilst some bins were missed and collected at a later date, the majority of residents saw no reduction in service which is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.”
l What do you think? Lincolnshire County Council insists it needs your feedback to ensure it get it right this year.
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