Even at the height of summer, plans are being laid to ensure North Yorkshire is ready for whatever winter might throw at the county and the authority has invested almost £2.2m in 18 new gritters to replace some of the vehicles in its fleet of 80 gritters.
Keeping the county’s vast roads network moving for residents and businesses is a high priority for North Yorkshire County Council, and that means a modern, reliable fleet of gritters is essential.
Commenting, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Access, Councillor Don Mackenzie said:
“We fully understand how important it is for residents and businesses to keep North Yorkshire moving throughout winter. To do that, we need to ensure our fleet stays right up to date.
“That’s why we’re investing now and why we have a policy that none of our gritters should be more than eight years old and the average age of the whole fleet should be less than five.”
The new vehicles will form part of the NY Highways fleet, which is a company created by North Yorkshire Council, but operates as a private business.
It took on the role of maintaining the county’s 5,800 miles of roads after the previous private sector contract ended earlier this year and the company is looking ahead to its first winter.
Managing Director of NY Highways, Ross Bullerwell said:
“Our preparations for winter are going very well. The summer restock of salt is under way and we are doing full summer services of all our existing gritters.
“It is great to have the investment in these new vehicles. It really enhances our fleet and gives us a very young fleet.
“This helps us to ensure that we deliver a successful winter maintenance programme to keep the roads safe and clear for travellers.”
The vehicles are four-wheel drive to help them to cope with North Yorkshire’s rural topography and can be fitted with ploughs, if required, and have the latest GPS tracking systems.
Their engines also meet the latest emission standards and are fitted with safety features that maximize the driver’s visibility, as well as having reflective logos and markings to help the vehicles to be seen in all weathers and at night.
Councillor Mackenzie added:
“Now, perhaps more than ever, it is vital that we are well prepared and ready to act as we see increasing instances of severe weather around the world and within our own county.
“These additions to our fleet of gritters, with four-wheel drive for our most challenging locations, will ensure that we are ready.
“Our investment in these vehicles demonstrates that we remain committed to maintaining the level of our winter maintenance service under NY Highways.
“This enables us to treat routinely a greater proportion of our roads network during wintry conditions than any other council in England.”
North Yorkshire Council spend between £6m and £10m each year on winter gritting, depending on the severity of the weather, and last winter gritters completed more than 10,000 runs.
Salt accounts for about a third of the operation’s cost and taking advantage of improvements in technology to enable gritters to spread more accurately has recently contributed to annual savings of up to £120,000.
In addition to the new vehicles, the authority is investing in new and upgraded weather stations around the county using Vaisala RWS200 technology.
This provides North Yorkshire with the largest and most up to date network of RWS200 weather stations of any local authority in the UK.
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