More Sidmouth roads to be gritted by DCC

Devon County Council to improve winter road gritting despite top ranking

DESPITE being ranked the best council in the country for cold weather gritting and snow clearance last year, Devon County Council agreed on Wednesday to improve some of its winter services operations.

It gained the accolade in the National Highways and Transport Public Satisfaction Survey.

More than 30,000 tonnes of salt was used last winter, nearly six times the amount used three winters earlier, yet DCC did not run out of stocks.

Now its cabinet has agreed to extend Devon’s primary salting network, which already treats around 1,700 miles when ice, frost or snow is forecast, to include main access routes to strategic cottage and community hospitals, and main access routes to secondary schools.

This provides reasonable access to treated roads for 86 percent of Devon’s population. The secondary salting network has also been re-assessed and now includes the main access route to areas with a population of between 100 and 500, the parking areas of park and ride sites, regular bus routes and main access routes to county council properties providing essential services.

In all these revised saltings will provide access to treated roads for 96 percent of Devon residents.

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Almost 3,000 grit bins will be labelled to show how to use the contents.

Sidmouth resident Councillor Stuart Hughes, speaking as DCC’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “In the last two years we have had two very difficult winters, so I’m very pleased that that there has been such a comprehensive review on the winter maintenance service on our highways.

“Our winter service policy has been robust but we can improve upon it with this fine tuning and we will be as prepared as we can be.

“I think it’s very sensible if we use the purchasing power of the county council to get a good deal for towns and parishes if they want to have a stock of salt themselves.”

The cabinet also agreed to publish a self-help leaflet explaining how people can help themselves by treating local roads using grit bins.

Town and parish councils will be encouraged to appoint snow wardens and will be able to buy bags of salt from DCC.