A man who has worked for over two decades with the gritters in Lincolnshire has spoken about the worst and best temperatures he’s experienced after the 20th year of gritter blessings in the county.
The salt spreaders annual ceremony recently took place at Lincolnshire County Council’s Sturton by Stow depot ahead of the incoming cold snap.
The Right Reverend Dr Nigel Peyton, Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, bestowed the blessing for the 20th year that the ceremony has taken place. He blessed the machines, crew and salt as part of the overall preparations for the winter season.
One man who knows working the gritters in Lincolnshire very well after having spent 22 years with them is Darrell Redford, Network Resilience Manager at Lincolnshire County Council, after having spent 22 years
He said: “Since I started with the gritting team in 2000 there has been a lot of variance in temperatures.
“The worst I’ve ever experienced in Lincolnshire was -22.5 which we saw at Newton on Trent during the 2010/11 ‘Beast from the East’ event. The county froze solid. I’ve never seen it as bad as that was in all the years I’ve been doing this job.
“On the other end of the scale, this year so far has been the mildest we’ve seen. Before this year the mildest winter – and latest start to the gritting – was last year in 2021 when we first spread on November 16. We’ve gone past that date for this year, and it’s remained mild for some time.
“Last year we went out salting on Christmas Eve but then we didn’t need to go out again until January 13. That was a long time to not have to grit in a winter. But once the lower temperatures hit us in last January it did come back with a vengeance and affected us quite hard, we were then going out regularly until late February.”
The Right Reverend Dr Nigel Peyton, Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, said: “It’s an honour to be carrying out the 20th anniversary blessing of the machinery, people and salt that is used to help keep the county’s roads safe.
“The reason why we do this is, quite simply, to help people be aware of the upcoming weather and to remind them of how we need to keep ourselves safe, take care when driving and be courteous to others on the roads.”
Lincolnshire gritters by numbers
- There are 47 Gritters that serve the county. These range from mainly 26-tonne gritters with 10-tonne hoppers,18-tonne lorries with 6-tonne hoppers on the back and smaller 10-tonne versions with a 3-tonne hopper on the back
- Lincoln County Council holds 29,200 tonnes of salt in the county’s stores this year
- On average, LCC uses 20,000 tonnes of salt a year. The gritting team used a bit less last winter because it was so mild
- The most salt ever used in one winter was across the 2010/11 ‘Beast from the East’ brutally cold season. That year a massive 38,000 tonnes of salt was put down on the roads
- There are 12 weather stations around the county feeding data back about the weather and road temperatures. The county has access to eight others sited with other counties which help to more accurately predict weather systems as they come across the country
- The county has a budget of £1.2m a year for salt. Last year the council spent £900,000 on the grippy stuff
- The molasses-treated salt that is bought in will last for five years – this lifespan had never been tested though as the salt stored is always used well before the five years is up
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