Mild winter saves council thousands

PUBLISHED: 12:11 12 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:30 28 May 2010

Rod Marshall, at the county council depot at March, demonstrates the amount of special grit left in store because of the mild winter.
Picture: BRIAN PURDY

Rod Marshall, at the county council depot at March, demonstrates the amount of special grit left in store because of the mild winter. Picture: BRIAN PURDY

COUNCIL chiefs are keeping their fingers crossed that the rest of the winter stays mild after saving hundreds of thousands of pounds by not having to send out gritters. Depots, including the one in Hostmoor, March, have been much quieter than usual and wi

COUNCIL chiefs are keeping their fingers crossed that the rest of the winter stays mild after saving hundreds of thousands of pounds by not having to send out gritters.

Depots, including the one in Hostmoor, March, have been much quieter than usual and with each full gritting run costing council tax payers £20,000, the savings rapidly mount.

Gritting crews across the county have, between the start of the winter season in October and Monday, carried out just 12 full runs compared with 34 by the same time last year.

"By this time last year we had spent about £680,000 but we have only spent £240,000 this year," said a Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman.

"It really is an indication for how mild this winter has been. We think it is the least amount of times we have been out up to this point of any winter."

But, despite there being only 78 days left until the end of the winter season, he said it could get worse with reports of wintry weather heading our way soon.

"Although we have only been out 12 times, our crews are ready to go 24 hours a day," he said.

The county council do not see it as a saving though. Any spare money is either spent on any shortfall because of heavy winters in previous years, or saved up in preparation for a possible worse winter next year.

Even more money is saved by using pre-wet salt, used in Scandinavian countries, made up of a mixture of brine and rock salt.

The spokesman said: "It means you can use less grit because it sticks to the road better."

And further expense is cut by using an energy-efficient fleet of vehicles and a GPS system which shows where gritting lorries have covered.

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