Winter road treatment
Lambeth's winter service programme runs from 29 October 2012 to 31 March 2013. Officers and gritting crews will be on standby for any adverse weather conditions. We receive daily forecasts from the Met Office and together with local knowledge this helps us decide when to grit roads and pavements over the winter period. Where possible we pre-grit the main routes before ice forms or snow falls in a pre-determined priority order across the borough.
Our key objectives are to:
- keep Lambeth moving by gritting key transport routes and links
- minimise delays, accidents and damage resulting from snow and ice.
Last year during the severe winter weather we were prepared with an adequate supply of grit. This year we aim to repeat this high level of service. Our grit stocks are currently at over capacity with 800 tonnes being stored in our depot and a further 250 tonnes being kept in our 550 grit bins strategically placed around the borough for footway gritting.
Veolia, our contractual partners, work around the clock to minimise delays, accidents and damage caused by snow and ice. They have five gritting vehicles that are equipped with global positioning satellite tracking. They also have a small towable grit spreader that can enter narrow roads and cul-de-sacs. Grit bins placed around the borough allow Veolia quick access to grit whilst working on street.
When to grit?
Gritting is likely when road temperatures are at or below 0 degree centigrade and moisture is present or likely to be present to form ice.
We often wake up to a severe frost, scrape ice off our car but are surprised to find that the roads have not been gritted. This is because the decision to grit is based on road temperature rather than air temperature. Roads retain heat and do not cool down as quickly as objects such as cars so although there might be frost on our cars, gritting may not be necessary.
It is not simple to decide whether or not to grit. For example, if heavy rainfall is predicted at below -1 degree centigrade, pre-gritting a road prior to the rainfall would be a waste of time and resources as the grit would be washed away.
Which roads are gritted?
Transport for London is responsible for many of the major roads and footpaths in Lambeth marked in red on the map. These include most of the main shopping areas. We have asked Transport for London to give the highest priority to footways in these areas and to the tube and rail stations while also keeping the roads open. We are responsible for the other roads and footpaths.
We are unable to grit all roads due to the restrictions of cost and time but have prioritised as follows:
- Priority 1 – all main (non trunk) roads.
- Priority 2 – roads that access essential public services such as hospitals, fire stations and ambulance stations plus at least one access route from the main road network to every community.
- Priority 3 – all other roads that are not covered by Transport for London, or are priority 1 and 2. These would only be gritted if (a) priority 1 and 2 have been gritted and (b) if a large amount of resilient grit stock is still available taking into consideration all future stock deliveries and forecasting.
- Priority Zero - roads that are at risk of ice formation even when the temperature is zero degrees. These would not necessarily be gritted every time the temperature hits zero degrees. For example, if the roads are gritted on a Monday and it is zero degree centigrade on a Tuesday and Wednesday with dry conditions, these roads will not necessarily be gritted again because the grit from Monday will still be present. Priority zero decisions are assessed carefully in response to the weather forecast.
View the maps of our priority gritting routes.
Which footways are gritted and cleared of snow?
Footways are also gritted and cleared of snow by priority.
The priorities are as follows:
- police, fire, ambulance, train and bus depots
- shopping areas and areas with a heavy footfall
- steep hills
- the entrances to sheltered housing.
Clearing snow from footways and the gritting of footways is mainly done by hand. It can take a long time to get through the five priority areas. However, our teams will make every effort to ensure that footways are as safe as possible.
View the footway priorities and grit bins by ward maps.
Following on from the success of the scheme last year the council is looking for an additional 100 residents to volunteer as Snow Wardens and recieve full training as well as the following equipment to help keep their local streets safe this winter;
- a grit bin and supply of grit
- snow shovel
- hi visibility vest
- ice grips to prevent slipping
We are especially looking for volunteers that live close to elderly residents who are particularly vulnerable during the winter months.
If you would like to find out more about the scheme or would like to book on to one of our training sessions which are taking place in November then please get in contact by sending an email to SnowWardens@lambeth.gov.uk or by calling 020 7926 0524.
Read more information about Snow Wardens.
What Lambeth Housing Estate roads and footways will be gritted?
Please contact Lambeth Living on 020 7926 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Prolonged severe weather conditions
In 2008/09 London experienced the worst winter in 20 years. In 2009/10 it was the worst winter for London in 30 years. If the United Kingdom experiences another severe winter in 2012/13 and the national stock of grit is at risk of running out the Department for Transport will take control of all stocks held by authorities and county councils. The Department for Transport will then distribute it where the need is greatest.
We are unable to predict how bad the winter of 2012/13 will be, but Lambeth and all other London councils have been working together with Transport for London and the Department for Transport to ensure that London will remain resilient over the winter period.
To reduce the risk of grit stocks running out across London there are three mitigating measures as follows:
- Strategic salt stockpile – Transport for London has ordered 25,000 tonnes of grit as a contingency measure across London. To put this amount into context, our Vale Street depot holds up to 800 tonnes of grit and to cover our priority 1 routes we use approximately 19 tonnes of grit.
- Resilience routes (roads) – If the London grit supply is at risk, as it was in 2009/10, all boroughs will be asked to switch to their resilience routes which are 50 per cent shorter than our standard priority 1 and 2 routes. As those routes start to operate grit will be allocated to boroughs according to need.
- Resilience routes (footway) – Footway priorities 1 to 3 only (as above) will receive treatment depending on stock levels. If stock levels are insufficient, teams will be instructed to switch from gritting to snow clearance by shovel.
Who to contact
Transport for London is responsible for many of the major roads and footpaths in Lambeth. These are marked in red on our map of winter road treatment priorities.
For snow clearance and gritting enquiries on these roads and footpaths please contact Transport for London by calling 020 7941 4500.
For enquiries about other roads and footpaths please call 020 7926 9000 or email TandHCallCentre@lambeth.gov.uk
If you have to travel in bad weather please see our handy tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
More Questions and answers on the FAQ page.