13 July 2011

Plans for Northamptonshire County Council to replace 11 gritting lorries will be discussed at the authority’s cabinet meeting next week (July 19).

The council currently has 30 gritters at its disposal to carry out the precautionary salting of 1,128 miles of road – 11 of which are owned by the authority with the remainder provided by highways contractor MGWSP.

The county council owned gritters range in age between 13 to 15 years old and are at risk of becoming unreliable as the average life of a gritter is estimated at between eight and 10 years.

Cabinet will also consider for approval the sale of 10 of its current stock of gritting lorries, retaining one of the vehicles to be used for spare parts if necessary.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “The past few winters have shown that this is an immensely important service which has benefits for everyone living in Northamptonshire.

“Just under half of the road network receives a precautionary gritting so therefore it’s essential that we have adequate equipment to carry out this task.

“At times during the past three years, the gritters and the gritting crews had to work round the clock just to keep on top of the freezing conditions - an incredible task.”

If cabinet approves the proposal the council would replace the gritters over the three year period 2011/12- 2013/14 with four vehicles replaced this year, three in year two and the remaining four in year three.

The cost of replacing all 11 gritters at today’s prices would cost an estimated £1.9 million over three years.

The preferred method of replacement consisting of either purchase or lease hire will be made on an annual basis over the next three years, taking account the prevailing financial conditions at the time. This will be subject to further review as part of the council’s ongoing funding approval process.

The cabinet report is available here.