Snowy Weather Advice
For updates and information about how services are being affected during severe weather conditions, see Adverse Weather Conditions - Affected Services, you can also follow us on Twitter, where all updates will be posted immediately.
As the Highway Authority we are responsible for the winter gritting and snow clearance of public roads and pavements in the city. To see if your road will be gritted download our list of Gritting Routes. Please note: Under the Winter Service Plan not all routes/footways will automatically be gritted. Please see the Winter Service Plan for further information on the priority routes/footways.
What does the service include?
The service includes:
- gritting priority roads
- snow ploughing priority roads
- gritting and clearing priority footways
- providing and maintaining grit bins
- making salt available for purchase from HWRCs
- providing a volunteer snow warden scheme
Grit bins are located around the city for residents to use on public highways. View a map showing the location of gritting bins.
How do we deliver it?
We follow a Winter Service Plan, which sets out how we deliver the service during winter weather.
We have three gritting vehicles that can also be fitted with snow ploughs, three quad bikes for the clearance of priority footpaths – they can be fitted with ploughs and/or gritting trailers to meet the demands of the weather conditions and grit bins are located throughout the city for residents to use on public highways
Rock salt is spread on the surface of roads and footways helping to reduce snow and ice hazards on treated surfaces by lowering the freezing point of water.
The rock salt that we use contains a liquid additive called Safecote which is blended from natural, environmentally friendly ingredients. Safecote reduces the environmental impact of gritting operations as it is biodegradable, and has reduced bounce and greater adhesion to the road surface than pure rock salt, allowing targeted spreading and lasting activation.
What are the priorities for gritting?
We prioritise the gritting of three ‘Primary Routes’ - these routes cover the major roads, bus routes, public car parks, other busy roads and selected hills on secondary and minor roads within Southend. These have all been selected in consultation with the emergency services and transport companies.
These primary routes are of the highest priority and will be completed before gritting or snow clearing in other areas carried out.
If there is a salt shortage, or stocks need to be preserved, there may be a reduction in the Primary Routes treated.
Once the primary routes have been completed and stocks allow priority footways will be treated. These include main shopping areas, transport interchanges and pedestrian crossings. Other footways will not be gritted, however residents may use the grit bins available.
We may deviate from planned routes to support emergency services.
As resources are limited we are not able to treat residential highways or footpaths outside the priority areas outlined above. Please remember that it would be impossible to grit all parts of the road and footway network – residents must take care and assess whether it is safe to continue with their scheduled activities.
I would like to prepare in advance – what can I do?
Salt is available from large retailers and DIY stores. The Short Street Depot, post code SS2 5BY, will also be providing salt. The bags will be £6 for 20kg but will be split between 2 x 10kg bags. This is payable by cash only and you be will issued with a receipt.
Other things you can do:
- regularly maintain your vehicle and ensure that it is prepared for winter driving and weather.
- keep an ice scraper in the car
- consult advice on how to stay healthy during winter and getting ready for winter
Vulnerable members of our community may struggle during periods of adverse weather. You can help by:
- offering yourself as a contact for vulnerable neighbours
- checking in on neighbours and relatives that may need extra assistance
- offering to run essential errands for them if it is safe to do so
- use the grit from the bins available for the public footpaths if it is safe to do so
Advice on clearing snow
- shovel snow as soon as possible after it has fallen and before gritting to maximise its effectiveness
- do not try to clear snow or ice with boiling water – it may freeze and make things worse
- do not create snow heaps on the highway
Driving in winter conditions
- if you must drive check the Highway Code for advice on driving in ice and snowy weather
- ensure your vehicle is prepared – that it is serviced, well maintained and has effective windscreen washer fluid and wipers, sufficient antifreeze and tyres that have the correct depth of tread. It may be advisable to lower tyre pressure a little to increase traction
- before each journey ask yourself whether it is essential or not
- traffic monitoring cameras which can be viewed online to help you plan your journey
- check local traffic or weather reports
- clear your car of fallen snow – remembering mirrors, lights, windows and the car roof
- leave plenty of time for your journey, do not hurry
- drive with great care and reduce speed – remember some roads may not be treated or only treated in part
- when driving on ice use low engine revs and a higher gear
- do not brake or accelerate suddenly
- direct heated air towards the windscreen to prevent frost and improve visibility
- keep a safe stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front
Veolia have three winter gritting vehicles. Last winter around 11,200 miles of gritting was undertaken (that’s the equivalent of driving to Edinburgh and back 13 times), with over 1,600 tonnes of salt applied to the road network. In severe weather staff clear key footpaths for example: near schools, doctors and shopping areas.
Veolia also manage a salt barn which stores our supply of salt for the winter and makes sure it is protected from the elements. Their quad bikes also go out and spread salt in pedestrianised areas.