Salting/Gritting in Rochford District

December 29, 2009 by  

STOP PRESS, 7/01/2010.  The Government has announced that steps are being taken to control the national distribution of salt !!

This means that it will be necessary to reduce the schedule published here 0n 8/1 and 9/1 -go here  or here to find out more information 

With more snow and icy conditions on the way after the Festive Season our thoughts turned to the problems we experienced in Rochford District from 17/18 December right up to Christmas Day.

ECC Local area offices with knowledge of local requirements can also get involved in deployment. Roads are treated in their order of importance and usage.  So what is considered of importance in Rochford District?

So I decided to write to the County Councillor who is responsible, Councillor Norman Hume, to find out. 

The message that ECC has spent a great deal of budget on gritting roads in the last 10 days has got across to the public.

They are now asking where was gritted, time and date.  Obviously I only need Rochford District data please.

I look forward to hearing from you.

The answer came in the form of a Map where the roads salted are shown in blue.

The following link is to the active map that is updated day to day.

There is even more information posted below by an Officer from ECC under Comments.

So what about the pavements in our shopping areas?  They were largely untreated and dangerous for several days.

RDC now has its own supply of Salt and 9 new bins were ordered for our shopping areas just before Christmas. The piles of salt/grit that I have seen myself in Rochford and Hockley. 

I think that Keith Hudson has done a great job for residents in securing their safety in conditions which are set to be down right dangerous if the problems before Christmas were to have been repeated.

When the winter is over, though, there are questions to be asked as to why Essex County Council has the responsibility for this and cannot, apparently, fulfil its obligations.

Is it a budget issue or a lack of resources in its contractors?

Although I don’t want to count the cost right now, wishing to see safety fulfilled, I am sure that Keith is keeping count of the spend, and although it may not be high or significant in the overall RDC Budget, I do hope that we  as residents, have not already paid ECC and this spend is extra !!

The weather forecast for the next few days looks dire, keep yourselves and your families safe and well.


The following Article was published by RDC on 23 December which was a full 5 days after the first snowfall and during the first period of 24X7 below freezing conditions.

Did it take this long for ECC to realise that it could not fulfill its obligations?

Or did it take 5 days for ECC to give authorisation to RDC?

The Full Article on Rochord District Matters Online is at

or if that link does not work use this

I would have asked this question there but “Comments are Closed”. Here are a couple of Extracts to put my comment into context.

“Ensuring the roads and pavements are kept as ice free as possible is the responsibility of Essex County Council, however, due to the severity of the weather, resources have been stretched and Rochford District Council has stepped in to help out.”

“The Council offered personnel and vehicles and has been authorised to collect rock salt from the County’s stocks, to work on clearing pavements in the District, in co-ordination with the Essex County Council contractor.”



5 Responses to “Salting/Gritting in Rochford District”
  1. Editor says:

    ‘We can cope with icy roads’

    Thursday, 17 December 2009

    By Matthew Stanton of the Yellow Advertiser

    ESSEX councillors claim they are ‘confident’ they can cope with icy roads, despite running out of salt last year.

    Essex County Council stressed its fleet of 65 gritters and work with contractors May Gurney and Balfour Beatty, who will supply salt, will improve operations this winter.

    More than 20,000 tonnes of rock salt were used last year – 6,000 more than the amount recommended for normal winter – when temperatures fell below freezing on 57 days.

    Councillor Norman Hume, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said keeping roads safe was the council’s ‘top priority’.

    He said: “Like all local authorities, we were left in a perilous situation through a lack of salt supplies earlier this year.

    “We have worked with our contractors to ensure that we can operate to our maximum effectiveness to keep the roads clear.

    “I would emphasise that no road should ever be treated as safe because it is on a gritter route and roads can be iced over in minutes so motorists must make sure they take responsibility for ensuring they are prepared for all conditions.”

    Snow hit the county for three continuous days at the beginning of February, making it the worst winter in 18 years.

    Essex County Council spent an extra £4.8million getting roads back to standard before pledging to spend an extra £10million on improving residential roads.

    The winter gritting service is on 24-hour standby from November to April and vehicles will use GPS technology to help track the roads that need the most salt.

    Email: castlepoint [at] [dot] uk

  2. Editor says:

    Essex County Council holds 65 gritting lorries and 80 plus personnel on round-the-clock standby to grit the roads and pavements of Essex within 2 hours.

    The latest technological advances are being used including Icecast tm predictive technology. This relies on live data from six weather stations around the county, as well as roadside sensors and information from other authorities which are analysed by weather company Meteo Group who produce real-time data and forecasts based on this information.

    In addition, all Essex’s gritters are fitted with GPS (global positioning) technology to help track vehicle movements and plan deployment efficiently to the roads which most need treating. In normal winter conditions 1,890 miles of major roads will be salted, one of the biggest road networks in the country.

    The service is extended during severe winter weather with extra staff and lorries deployed in those circumstances. Local area offices with knowledge of local requirements take over deployment. Roads are treated in their order of importance and usage. Farmers and other highway contractors will also be called upon to help out with snow clearance in prolonged snow conditions.

  3. Editor says:

    Reply from an Officer of ECC on behalf of Councillor Hume to my specific question about road gritting in Rochford District below.

    You say that “The local area offices, under local control conditions, can prioritise other roads to be done, but generally, the town centres and shopping areas were prioritised in the run up to Christmas.”

    So what roads were gritted in Rochford District?

    “Sorry Cllr Mason, there is no list of roads as such, but the map link I referred to, I forgot to mention that the salting routes can be turned on, to see the areas that are salted.

    If you click the Map & Treatment button, it will show the routes in blue.

    Obviously, the lines stop at the Southend boundary, but I’m assured that the routes continue into the Southend area!

    If you have any specific areas I can provide the detailed routes plans, but these are based on the domain and may include routes in and out of the Rochford area.”

    Here is the text of the more general information.

    “At present, we are regularly salting our precautionary network of roads twice a day and locally treating any problem areas on both the precautionary network and the secondary routes. We have nearly 1900 miles of precautionary routes countywide with a fleet of 65 lorries making runs from 5 depots across the county.

    Please find attached a record of the precautionary salting network actions from the 14th December to the last one carried out at 03:00 this morning. For information the Rochford district is within the Thames domain.

    (this is my link above not ECC’s, so if it does not work please email me, John, and I’ll send Readers a copy)

    The precautionary network is salted at least twice per day or night during the colder weather, however the salt does also rely on traffic action to remove the snow and ice (See our Winter Service website for more information) (

    Our Winter Service Operational Plan sets out the requirements for roads to be on the precautionary network. They are :-

    § roads that are secondary distributor and above status,
    § direct access to hospitals, fire and ambulance stations,
    § roads with 4 or more buses per day,
    § areas with four or more personal injury collisions over a three years period that involving ice as a contributory factor,
    § accesses to outlying villages with 50 households or more
    § or other high risk sites (steep hills, high traffic flows etc) (Submitted to our team and risk assessed against a further criteria)

    The local area offices, under local control conditions, can prioritise other roads to be done, but generally, the town centres and shopping areas were prioritised in the run up to Christmas.

    More information can be found on our website at

    For reference the routes are shown on a map based on the internet at

    As with any weather forecasting, there is an element of prediction involved on when and where things happen, and we have to rely on this to programme the lorries in. The last run countywide was at 03:00 this morning, and this would have been completed before 07:00 this morning (Although the average run times are about 2-3 hours). We try to avoid sending the lorries out during the peak times as this affect the amount of spread the vehicles can cover.”

  4. Editor says:

    Updates from Keith Hudson and RDC Officers on 7 January

    RDC has agreement from ECC that RDC have been allotted 20 tonnes of salt/sand mix. Arrangements made for SITA to collect this later today. This will be available for gritting tomorrow 8/1. In the meantime SITA will be using the remaining stock in the pedestrian routes through our car parks and then some areas in the town centres.

    RDC is gritting/salting as follows:

    South Area Footways for priority local control but not Castle Point and Basildon

    Priority 3 Routes Rochford, Secondary Roads

  5. Editor says:

    Please find below a copy of a communication that has gone from Cllr Norman Hume to all District & Borough Leaders.

    I would like to update you on the current situation regarding winter gritting.

    As you are aware, weather conditions at present are severe and the current spell of cold weather seems likely to continue for some time. Due to the severity and long duration of the current conditions the Government has announced that steps are being taken to control the national distribution of salt. It may, therefore, be necessary for us to implement a reduced precautionary network.

    Please be assured that I take the decision to move to this revised route extremely seriously. I expect the reduced network to be in operation over the weekend period starting Friday evening. I am, however, keen to ensure that the full network is gritted as per normal in advance of Monday morning traffic should it be required. The public will be informed of this decision this afternoon via the below press release and I will forward you details of the website address where the revised route can be viewed as soon as it becomes available.

    I am aware that many of you have been using your staff to distribute salt provided by ECC to areas of high footfall such as main shopping areas and rail and bus stations etc and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance at this critical time

    Norman Hume

    Councillor Norman Hume
    Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation
    Essex County Council | telephone: 01245 434178 | extension: 40178

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