Council hopes for cash savings as mild winter temperatures leaves Hartlepool with mountain of salt

The Hartlepool Borough Council salt barn in Brenda Road
The Hartlepool Borough Council salt barn in Brenda Road

THE mild weather so far this winter has only seen gritters needed 11 times amid hopes it could lead to cash savings.

Hartlepool Borough Council has well-rehearsed plans in place to keep Hartlepool moving during winter that sees a fleet of gritters making sure the roads a clear for drivers.

Hartlepool’s salt barn in Brenda Road has been stocked with around 10,000 tonnes of road salt in preparation for freezing temperatures and it has hardly been called on yet this winter..

Mike Blair, Hartlepool’s highways, traffic and transport manager said gritters have only been out on around 11 occasions since the start of October, which is a massive reduction on previous years that have been a lot colder with more freezing conditions.

Mr Blair told the Mail: “We haven’t had any major freezing incidents and we haven’t had any snow. But winter doesn’t really start until after Christmas.

“Hopefully it will stay mild and we will be able to save our salt. The cost of the service is reduced because we pay per action when we go out.

“The shed has plenty of salt in it and still has 10,000 tonnes in it now.”

He said the council operates a well-rehearsed Winter Service Plan to keep on top of bad weather.

It has three gritters and has two others available to it in extreme weather conditions.

Action is led by four duty officers who are on 24-hour standby.

They receive regular forecasts throughout the day by the Meteo Group to keep on top of the weather.

Data is also provided from three road surface temperature sensors at Newburn Bridge, Low Stotfold on the A19 and Swart Hole, west of the A19, at Wynyard.

During frosty conditions main roads, commuter routes and important bus routes are given top priority to prevent freezing over.

The council says it is not always possible to prevent ice forming and it also treats roads afterwards and will act to clear heavy snowfall.

The council’s salt stocks come from the Boulby Pot Ash mine, in Redcar and the barn is continually re-stocked throughout the winter.