Winter ready: council prepared for sub-zero weather

Date published: 15 November 2020

Rochdale Borough Council’s gritting programme began last month, and now eight gritters are on standby ready to help keep the borough’s main roads safe.

There is over 4,000 tonnes of salt stored at the council depot on Princess Street, Rochdale, ready for spreading to tackle ice, sleet and snow on the roads this winter.

Over 200 miles of roads are salted during one round of complete gritting – over 50% of the total road network in the borough - and there are more than 20 drivers on standby.

Staff receive regular weather forecasts with information about road surface temperatures and the likelihood of ice. This is monitored alongside a computerised ice detection system, cameras and the council’s weather stations at Blackstone Edge, Middleton Road and, new for 2020, Edenfield Road in Norden which record road and air temperatures as well as showing live roadside images.

The council uses automatic gritting technology which spreads exactly the amount of grit required.

The council also has over 500 salt bins around the borough in areas where particularly difficult conditions exist.

Residents are being advised to make sure they are ready to deal with icy and wet conditions this year, including making sure vehicles are ready for severe weather, that you have the right equipment to stay safe, and know how to drive in extreme weather conditions. Residents should also look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may need extra help over the winter months.

You can help the council’s winter maintenance teams by making sure you leave enough room for gritters to get past when you park up.

Councillor Neil Emmott, cabinet member for quality of place, said: “Winter is always a busy time for us with unpredictable weather and high rural terrain to contend with, but the team is well prepared and ready to support the borough during the toughest of conditions.

“Gritting is carried out to prevent the formation of ice on the road however we can’t guarantee that every treated surface will be free of ice. As such, it’s so important to make sure you drive to the road conditions and slow down.

“If conditions are poor, and journeys are not essential, consider waiting until the weather gets better.”

Councillor Emmott also added that during the pandemic it’s even more important to look out for vulnerable neighbours this winter: “On top of the restrictions we are all faced with, poor weather will mean some residents face greater difficulties when carrying out every day basic tasks. Please consider how you can help with tasks such as essential shopping or picking up prescriptions and don’t underestimate how much of a difference you could make by making a phone call to have a quick chat."

Tips for driving in extreme weather:

  1. Allow extra time for your journey
  2. Make sure you have enough fuel
  3. Check your battery is good
  4. Check your tyres are suitable
  5. Carry a shovel in your boot
  6. Carry a bit of rock salt (available from builder’s merchants)
  7. Do not over-rev the engine or your wheels will spin
  8. Use as high a gear as possible to improve grip
  9. Build your speed up slowly on hills
  10. Always brake gently and in plenty of time
  11. Do not block junctions or roundabouts
  12. Keep more distance than usual from the car in front
  13. Give cyclists more space
  14. Keep a look out for pedestrians - particularly at zebra crossings, pelican crossings and outside schools
  15. Push broken down vehicles off the carriageway - abandoned cars are one of the main obstacles which get in the way of snow ploughs.

Information on gritting, salt bin locations, flooding, service changes, travel advice and more are available at

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