Council appeals for patience as it re-fills grit bins

Cost of gritting roads has already hit �350,000 says Devon County Council.

DEVON County Council is appealing for patience as it continues the massive operation of refilling its 3,000 salt bins across Devon as quickly as possible.

With freezing temperatures continuing this week and the possibility of snow forecast again toward the end of the week, the County Council is reassuring residents that grit bins are being replenished. However, it is asking residents to work together to ensure there is enough salt for everyone.

To ensure maximum availability of salt and grit in the bins it is essential that:

- It is not used for private land, driveways etc (salt for this purpose can be purchased from builders merchants etc);

- Salt is not spread excessively. A small amount will be effective in most circumstances.

Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “While the primary and secondary routes and town centres are the priority in order to keep Devon moving, salt bins are being re-filled where possible. Filling so many bins in a county the size of Devon is a huge undertaking so it is obviously going to take time to respond to widespread requests, but we will always do our best to respond.

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“It’s disappointing that we’ve had reports of some grit bins being completely emptied by people who are not using it on the public highway, and that some staff have been given abuse when re-filling the bins. People should think of others who may also need to use the salt when they help themselves.

“Our teams are continuing to do everything they can to ensure that the roads on our salting network are treated and as safe as possible. They have been busy throughout this cold snap over the past few weeks but even roads which have been treated may still be icy. With the potential of more snow on the way, we are as prepared as we can be and would remind motorists to slow down and drive with extreme caution.”

The County Council has already used around 7,000 tonnes of salt on the county’s road network so far, costing more than �350,000. There are still 18,000 tonnes in stock, 400 tonnes of which will be used to top up salt bins. Another 5,000 tonnes are on order.

Devon County Council treats around 2,000 miles of roads on its combined primary and secondary salting networks, providing reasonable access to treated roads for more than 90 per cent of Devon residents. Salt bins are provided to enable communities to salt roads and pavements which the County Council cannot treat. Salt should be used sparingly as only small amounts of salt are required to be effective.

More than 30,000 tonnes of salt was used by Devon County Council in 2009/10 – nearly six times the amount used three winters earlier.