The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a government contribution of more than £16 million to help Highways England roll out 93 new road gritters this winter, to help ensure the smooth movement of traffic on motorways and major A-roads.
The gritters join the agency’s 535-strong winter fleet, which includes 23 snow blowers capable of removing more than 2,500 tonnes of snow per hour.
A further £40m investment by Highways England will help fund more than 250 replacement winter vehicles.
The roads minister, Baroness Vere, has called on local authorities to ensure key transport routes to hospitals and Covid-19 test centres are kept open and running smoothly, and urged them to ensure salt and grit supplies are topped up.
Alongside council stocks, Highways England maintains 270,000 tonnes of salt stock for use on its network, with a further 357,000 held in national reserve.
The transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have worked tirelessly with the country’s highways teams to make sure our transport networks are kept open and running in whatever weather we encounter.
“This year, it is more important than ever that Britain is prepared for the winter as we continue to tackle the pandemic. Through this work, we’ll ensure key routes to Covid-19 test centres remain open in the coming months.”
Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, added: “Our winter fleet will be out treating our roads around the clock whenever ice or snow is forecast, but it is still important that drivers plan their journeys, make sure they are prepared for the winter weather and drive safely in all conditions.”