One and a half times around the world for Oxfordshire's gritters

The winter was not one of the coldest in recent times – so the total of 64,224 kilometres covered (or 39,907 miles) was not unusual compared to previous years.

Gritters are on standby from October 30 right the way through to April in Oxfordshire – similar to many neighbouring councils.

In total the gritters were sent out countywide on 32 occasions. In addition they were sent out on five occasions to specific areas in the north and south of the county only.

A total of 6,374 tonnes of salt were used during the course of the Winter – within the resources that had been brought in at the start of the colder months. 

Equivalent of London to Iceland

Paul Wilson, Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways Network Resilience Co-ordinator, said: “Although the winter of 2015/16 will be remembered in England more for flooding than colder weather we still had a number of cold nights that warranted the gritters being dispatched on to our roads.

“Travelling a distance of one and a half times around the world sounds a lot but actually it is well within the range of what we’d expect to cover during the Winter and is less surprising when you consider that one countywide gritting run in Oxfordshire is the equivalent distance of London to Iceland.”

“Although gritting helps keep the roads safe it is not a magic elixir that means the Winter can be kept at bay for motorists. The other half of the equation is people driving to the conditions – which I think most people are sensible enough to do.”

Highways England

Although Oxfordshire’s gritters cover A-roads and B-roads in the county the national agency Highways England are responsible for gritting the M40, A34 and A43 – so the Oxfordshire figures described do not include statistics for these roads.