Gritting and snow clearance

How can I find our which roads are gritted?

You can find your local gritting route on our interactive map. ‌

How do you grit the roads?

When icy conditions are forecast we will grit the main routes in Derby as a precaution. These are called our primary gritting routes. We do not grit minor roads and lanes.

We use six gritting vehicles and have one on standby. If there is an emergency, we aim to have all these vehicles on the road within one hour. Our gritters work by using a spreader located on the back of the vehicle to dispense a set amount of salt evenly on the road surface. 

Our primary gritting routes cover about 38% of roads in Derby which include:

  • All A (principal) roads and B (classified) roads
  • All important access roads (but not all bus routes)
  • Other roads that enable access to critical buildings such as hospitals, fire and police stations, major food distribution centres, the city centre, the railway station and bus station

If there is prolonged heavy frost, ice or snow then we will consider treating other roads on a priority basis. This is subject to sufficient resources being available as our priority will remain with the primary routes.

Our main pedestrianised areas and footpaths in the city centre and shopping centres will also be treated when the forecast indicates that rain is likely to be followed by freezing conditions, or when snow is forecast. This treatment will normally be carried-out outside normal shop opening times.

When do you decide to grit?

The weather forecast is checked at least once a day throughout winter (between 1st October and 30th April) so we can judge whether to send our gritting vehicles out to grit the roads.

The Met Office advises us of the possibility of freezing road surface temperatures, ice or snow and gives an approximate time when we might expect this to happen. We use this information to decide whether gritting is necessary.

As well as being updated with regular national forecasts and local information for nearby weather stations, we monitor a network of sensors embedded in roads across Derby. Each is connected by cable or mobile phone technology to our automatic weather station (grey box by the roadside) and measures road and air temperatures, rain, dew and salt levels.

The sensors are sited either on a representative stretch of road (no nearby trees, buildings or bridges, which offer some protection from the cold), or traditional cold spots. The weather stations then beam back information for us to monitor.

What happens when snow is on its way? 

Our snow clearing operation will take place when heavy and continuous snow settles.

We concentrate on primary routes such as access to hospitals, fire and police stations and other important facilities whilst it’s snowing or if there are strong winds causing drifting.

Once the main roads are clear, we will begin to work on other roads.

It may not be possible to clear every road, and some roads may have to be left to thaw naturally as our vehicles cannot fit down narrow roads. 

Snow ploughs only work effectively when snow is more than 3-4cms deep; they cannot work on roads that have road humps or similar traffic calming measures.

Highways England clears motorways and trunk roads, such as the A61, A38 and A6 in Derby. Derbyshire County Council clears all roads in the county from the city/county boundary.

How do you clear snow?

Our main gritting vehicles can all be quickly fitted with snow ploughs, allowing for salting and ploughing to take place at the same time. However, we will only plough snow if it exceeds 3-4cms. 


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