Government funds 93 additional gritters in preparation for winter

The Government has added an extra 93 gritters to a 535-strong fleet to ensure that the country stays on the move this winter.

The fleet of vehicles includes 23 snow blowers capable of removing 2,500 tonnes of snow. Highways England is also investing an additional £40 million to help more than 250 replacement winter vehicles to join the fleet.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere has written to councils to ensure that their supplies of salt and grit are maintained so that key routes to Covid-19 test centres can be kept free of snow and ice as the country braces for poorer weather alongside the pandemic.

As well as council stocks, Highways England retains a salt stock of 270,000 tonnes for use across its network of roads while an extra 357,000 tonnes is held in a national salt reserve.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, said: “Our winter fleet will be out treating our roads around the clock whenever ice or snow is forecast, but it is still important that drivers plan their journeys, make sure they are prepared for the winter weather and drive safely in all conditions.”

Salt producers have also confirmed that production is enough to ensure that the roads are kept clear over the coming months.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: “We have worked tirelessly with the country’s highways teams to make sure our transport networks are kept open and running in whatever weather we encounter.

“This year, it is more important than ever that Britain is prepared for the winter as we continue to tackle the pandemic. Through this work, we’ll ensure key routes to Covid-19 test centres remain open in the coming months.”