Crews show true grit and determination to keep the roads safe as the temperature drops

As temperatures dip below freezing, Veolia, in partnership with Merton Council, has kept the boroughs priority road network gritted, so that key workers and residents can make essential journeys safely during lockdown.

Veolia’s street cleansing teams in Merton have five gritting vehicles on constant standby and 1,500 tonnes of salt in reserve to keep the borough moving through the winter. The teams are deployed when the road surface temperature is forecast to drop below freezing. Priority routes are gritted before the road surface temperature falls below zero, to reduce the risk of ice forming. Roads are gritted depending on when icy conditions are predicted to occur. 

Priority routes include all the main roads through the borough, including bus routes, outside train stations, underground stations and tram stops and streets leading to fire stations and hospitals. This precautionary gritting of the priority road network can involve a team of eight people and take up to three hours. When snow or widespread ice is forecast, more roads and busy footpaths will be gritted to ensure access to places including schools and care homes is maintained. Repeat gritting is carried out if the snowfall stays on the ground and turns into ice.

Maps of the priority gritting network, including footpaths, can be found on the council’s website. Residents can report roads that have become treacherous at www.merton.gov.uk/gritting.  

The council’s Merton Together campaign has highlighted the efforts of crews to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on essential services, including gritting.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Local Environment and Green Spaces, Councillor Mike Brunt, said: “Our hard working crews are showing true grit and determination to keep Merton moving. They are out in freezing temperatures, sometimes in the middle of the night to help keep the priority roads in the borough safe. Our Merton Together campaign has highlighted their efforts to keep these vital services running during the pandemic. I urge everyone in our community to take care when venturing out into icy conditions. Please plan any essential journeys you need to make during lockdown and tread carefully when the temperature drops during the winter.”

Veolia’s South London Waste Partnership General Manager, Scott Edgell, said:  “Our street cleansing teams work hard all year round to keep Merton clean and safe. Despite the ongoing pandemic, our gritting teams will be working hard again this winter to keep road conditions safe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”

For more information, please visit Merton Council’s website: www.merton.gov.uk/gritting