Tuesday, 5 January 2010

County Snow & Ice Policy

Tuesday 5th January

The promise of more snow for the forthcoming weeks has caused concern for residents and in particular what roads are likely to be prepared in the form of gritting.

I've looked to get 'chapter and verse' on this subject and found the answer within the blog of a colleague of mine at the County, Mr David Munro, who posted a similar entry at http://davidmunro.blogspot.com/

Surrey's policy is not to salt every single road, but to concentrate on the main transport networks covering about 40% of the road network. Gritting of 'Priority 1' roads are undertaken according to an appropriate weather report, while 'Priority 2' roads are done when crews and machines - and indeed salts and grits - are available.

Herewith the Windlesham, Lightwater and Bagshot priorities;

All Saints Road
Broadway Road

Chertsey Road
Guildford Road
Lightwater Road
London Road
New Road
Red Road
School Road
Woodlands Lane

Priority 2
Ambleside Road
Badger Drive
Bagshot Green

Church Road
MacDonald Road
Manor Way
Westwood Road

and the elements of Clearsprings, Aplin Way and The Avenue that serve the bus route.

Salt bins are periodically topped up and are located at certain areas deemed problematic with the onset of wintry conditions. Regrettably a lot of the bins have been emptied and not refilled owing to the depletion of salt reserves at the local depot and indeed by residents using the stocks for their driveways! These bins are unofficially the third priority and over the last year some of them have even been removed: W
hile I personally question some of these individual cases - in 2010 its ridiculous to think that some people in Surrey will be confined to their streets, or even homes - I remain in agreement that routes to hospitals etc must take priority.

That said if you find that you are struggling - particularly if you are elderly or immobile - get in touch with either the County or the Borough and lets see what we can do to help.
Failing that, email me at stuart.macleod@surreycc.gov.uk. My shovel is in the car.

***UPDATE*** Thursday 7th January

There is useful information available on Surrey’s website about winter
maintenance activities.

All carriageways forming part of the public highway network shall be
allocated to one of the three groupings according to the following

Priority One – approximately 37% of the County highway network
Precautionary salting will be carried out on all Surrey Priority Network
(SPN) 1 and 2 roads within the County. These are the most important roads
in terms of the volume of traffic carried, the proportion of large goods
vehicles and their strategic function as principal links between major
destinations within Surrey and beyond or within settlement hubs or other
significant urban areas.

• SPN 1 and 2 (Roads with traffic flows greater than 12000 vehicles per

• main access route to A&E and acute hospitals

• major bus routes (50 per day urban, 25 per day rural)

• roads passing through major shopping centres

Priority Two – approximately 13% of the County highway network

• roads with traffic flows greater than 5000 vehicles per day

• main access route to important industrial and large education
establishments (500+ pupils)

• single access points to villages

• access road/s leading to other hospitals, ambulance stations, fire
stations, railway stations

• roads used by other bus routes and depots

• steep hazardous gradients and over bridges where known local icing
conditions occur

Priority Three

• all other public highways not covered by the above

Policy on the use of Salt Bins

The Council provides salt bins at certain adopted highway locations that
are not on the priority one network, already treated as an aid to road
safety. There is no legal duty to provide salt bins, Surrey County Council
nevertheless recognise that through self help they can assist the local
community in areas not on the priority network.

There is currently no definitive case law on the question of legal
liability of members of the public who spread salt and it is thought to be
a very remote possibility that an individual would ever be held legally
liable in such circumstances. The risk in providing salt bins and their
possible removal from the highway must be balanced against the undoubted
benefits gained through community involvement. Accordingly, Surrey County
will continue to prioritise where to put the bins according to:

• Difficult road junctions,

• Slopes,

• Acute bends

• Concentration of pedestrian commuter use.

• To assist with service for those in isolated rural communities off the
primary and secondary precautionary treated routes

Requests for salt bins are assessed against a score to ensure that those
provided meet the criteria of servicing the highest priorities within the
scope of the budget (Appendix E). The score allocated must reach a minimum
of 100 points for a location to qualify.


As of 9am Thursday 7th January resources are still concentrating on ‘A’
class roads only. When these roads have reached suitable condition
resources be moved to the Priority one network. This decision has been made
to help preserve salt stocks, which are low although Surrey is still
waiting for the 1000 tonnes it ordered before Christmas to be delivered.

Salt stocks are limited, and in consequence the decision has been made not
to re-stock grit bins at the present time, as this enables us to ensure
that we have the capacity to continue salting the priority road network and
maintain some reserve.

There are a large number of salt bins across Surrey, and it is recognised
that every one of these is important to local residents. However, the
safety of the priority network must take precedence. For comparison, it
takes approximately five hundred tonnes of salt to replenish all of the
bins across the County, whereas this quantity of salt is the equivalent
needed for four salting runs of the whole of the priority road network for
West Surrey.

Operations scheduled, amongst others today in the West Area, include the
filling of grit bins with sharp sand. This decision being made, as our
delivery of salt is further delayed as the ship containing supplies is
unable to dock until Friday.

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