Your questions answered
Can I clear the snow outside of my property?
Yes, you are allowed to clear the snow and ice outside of your own property.
The Government produced a Snow Code in 2010 which offers guidance on self-help and clearing snow and ice from pathways. This information is available on the Met Office website.
How do I report any problems?
If you have any issues or problems concerning the gritting of roads and highways, grit bins, potholes or other issues, you can report them by using the following forms:
- Report an issue with a gritting route
- Report an issue with an empty or damaged grit bin
- Report an issue with a pothole
- Report other issues on the road or pavement
Which roads are gritted?
When there is the risk of snow or ice forming on the roads, Worcestershire County Council (WCC) salt 2,371km of road. With limited resources and available finance it is essential that the Primary Network is treated first.
Secondary Network will be treated in severe weather conditions and only after the Primary Network has been successfully treated. It will not be reasonably practicable to provide the service on all roads or to ensure all surfaces are kept free of ice or snow at all times, even on the treated parts of the network.
Why can't WCC grit all the roads?
Whilst it would be great to grit all the roads in the county it is simply not possible to do this because of cost and the time that it would take. WCC have to make difficult decisions about what roads they can realistically grit.
The Primary Network route is approximately 30% of the road network. WCC will not grit private roads or drives. Motorways and Trunk Roads (M5, M50, M42 and A46) are salted by Highways England.
When do WCC grit?
WCC will normally grit the roads when the forecast is for snow or the roads are wet and the roads surface temperature falls below zero. Gritting takes place before frost forms on the roads.
WCC use the temperature of the road surface not the air temperature to decide if salting is required. Sometimes on a cold morning, when your car has a layer of frost, the roads may have retained enough heat through the night to prevent them from freezing and no gritting is required.
WCC may require to grit twice in a night as freezing temperatures are predicted before and after heavy rain as this will wash the first treatment away. It will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete a salting route.
How do WCC know when to grit?
Weather information is obtained from specialist forecasters, roadside monitoring stations and in unpredictable circumstances it may be supplemented by patrol inspections.
WCC maintains a contract with an appropriate forecasting organization that provides daily weather forecasts and are updated frequently. In addition, forecasters are available at any time of the day or night to discuss the forecast and changes in conditions.
Additional real-time information is provided by a network of roadside sensor stations around the county that report on air temperature, ground temperature, relative humidity and in some cases provide local site forecasts.
When available forecast information is uncertain or conditions are changing unpredictably, winter service inspectors may be mobilized to report on conditions along pre-determined routes or at specific points of interest.
These sources of information inform treatment decisions that are made by the duty winter service supervisor.
For the latest weather forecast updates visit the MET office website.
What is salt?
WCC use rock salt on the roads to keep them free of ice and snow. It is used prior to freezing conditions and is a brownish colour because it is unrefined so it is often mistakenly referred to as grit. Salt works by lowering the temperature at which water freezes and can therefore keep a road free of ice below zero conditions.
Salt can work at temperatures down to minus 8-10 degrees C. Below this temperature salt becomes less efficient and roads can begin to freeze. Grit can be used on the roads but this will be limited to areas where snow and ice already exist on the road and a mixture of salt and grit will provide traction to vehicles and help break up the frozen surface.
Who is responsible for the grit bins?
Grit bins will normally be provided and maintained with stocks of salt/grit mixture where they provide a necessary improvement to road safety and benefit to the community.
WCC can not provide a grit bin everywhere. Grit bins are located in strategic positions around the county and are provided for use of the public Highway only (carriageway and footway). The grit bins are there to help road users, including pedestrians. You may use the salt to treat ice and snow on small areas of the road or footway.
New grit bins may be installed if the proposed location meets set criteria. Requests for new grit bins are assessed against pre-determined criteria, including the gradient of the road, proximity of bends and junctions, level of traffic use, number of premises/ residential dwellings and proximity of more vulnerable residents.
Parish, Town and District grit bins are now being placed around the County. These bins are coloured green and the responsibility of filling these bins are with the local Parish, Town or District Council.
To apply for a County grit bin to be installed please contact 01905 845676.
Are pedestrian routes gritted?
WCC do not generally treat footways as priority is always given to the road network. However, in prolonged periods of adverse conditions footways in town centres will be treated after the road network has been successfully treated.
Who is in charge of gritting the roads?
Worcestershire County Council is responsible for providing a winter service on adopted public highways within the county except for motorways and trunk roads.
How can I get more information on gritting?
Throughout the winter period when the gritting is being done you can find out more information on how they are doing through many different radio stations available across the county, some suitable radio stations are:
- BBC Hereford & Worcester 104FM, 94.7FM
- Free Radio 102.8FM
- Heart 97.6FM - 107FM
- The Wyre 107.2FM
- Touch 107.3FM
- BRMB 96.4FM