Due to the prolonged freezing weather and snow, Thurrock Council has decided to reduce its gritting runs.
The council has already exceeded using the amount of grit and salt it used in all of the previous financial year and forecasts show that the cold snap is expected to continue at least past Christmas.
Despite exceptionally heavy snow on Saturday (18 December) — when the Met Office issued an “Emergency Severe Weather Warning” — the council managed to keep all main routes clear and drivable with care.
However the amount of snow which fell so quickly meant it was difficult to get the salt down in time. This problem was experienced across the region and in London.
Due to the ongoing weather conditions, the forecast, and the likelihood of government intervention in salt deliveries the council decided to take the prudent step of protecting its supplies of salt as far as possible, something it has done in the two previous winters.
Future gritting runs to the reduced routes as laid out in the Winter Maintenance Plan, details of which are available on the council’s website at www.thurrock.gov.uk and by going to “Gritting” via the A to Z.
Cllr Val Morris-Cook, Thurrock’s portfolio holder for Environment, said on Tuesday (21 December): “We have now used the same amount of salt in November and December that we used throughout the whole of last winter — which was exceptionally severe in its own right and double what we used in the preceding winter.
“Under the circumstances we felt it prudent to ensure we conserve our stocks of salt and target the major routes in the borough.
“We have plenty of salt on order, and are expecting a delivery soon, but as this weather is nationwide, it is possible the government will start emergency procedures and take over deliveries.
“It’s good to know that the waste and recycling collections are back today, but residents must understand that when the crews are picking up their bins, they can’t be out clearing the snow as they have been.
“Over the weekend we had around 30 staff out clearing snow, concentrating on high profile areas such as town centres.”