Gritters ready to roll when winter strikes

Preparing for winter - some of East Sussex's gritters are put through their paces at Ringmer Depot as part of Operation SnowdropEAST Sussex’s fleet of gritters has been hitting the county’s roads as it gears up for the onset of winter.

In a two-day initiative dubbed ‘Operation Snowdop’, gritters were thoroughly checked and sent out on a dummy run of gritting routes around the county to test their readiness for wintery weather.

Against a backdrop of blue skies and bright sunshine, the sturdy yellow vehicles presented an incongruous sight for motorists enjoying the last days of an Indian summer.

But the exercise is vital to ensuring the county is ready to leap into action if temperatures plummet, according to East Sussex County Council head of highways Roger Williams.

He said: “Checking that our fleet of gritters is in tip-top condition after the summer is a key part of our planning to ensure we’re prepared when cold weather strikes.

“We’ve got 10,000 tonnes of rock salt in stock at our depots across the county so we’re ready to keep East Sussex moving as quickly and as safely as possible, whatever the weather.

“As the days shorten and the temperature begins to drop, now is also a good time for the public to check that they too are prepared for winter.

“We advise people to check things like their tyres and anti-freeze levels and to carry essentials such as de-icer, a blanket, shovel and mobile phone, and if bad weather does strike, to only travel if absolutely necessary.”

East Sussex has a fleet of 26 gritters, all of which have been christened with imaginative names such as Usain Salt, Girl Plougher and Gritney Spears.

Each gritter run sees 200 tonnes of salt spread on county roads – enough to salt 800 million bags of chips.

More advice on how to prepare for winter is available online at