It happens every year and yet we hardly give a thought about gritting the roads. Well we forget about it until the weather forecasters get it wrong and then everyone moans. No matter how prepared you think you are it is always one massive logistical nightmare to get it right every time.
The other logistical nightmare is the grit bins. They have to be filled ready for winter and refilled if the public uses the salt within them. Most councils have the location of their grit bins either on paper or in a spreadsheet.
The people responsible for gritting the roads and filling the bins up and down the country are: Highways England, County Councils, District Councils, Borough, Town and Parish Councils.
Grit Bins – The Statistics
A typical County Councils gritting stock, Information taken from Derbyshire County Council
- 1,319 Grit Bins
- 1,111 Grit Bins managed by the District, borough, town and parish councils
- The grit cost £33 per tonne
- 13,000 tonnes used in 2018
- Cost of gritting in 2018 £429,000
- 28,000 tonnes of grit stored in depots around the county
- 26 front line road gritting vehicles
- Total spend in 2018 £2.94 million
- Budget available for 2019 £3.97 million pound
- Some 3rd part contractors i.e. farmers also help with clearing the roads
The Cost of Filling Grit Bins in Kent 2010
The cost of providing a salt bin and for refilling three times is £595.53
The problem with the current method of filling grit bins is the costs involved. Each and every individual grit bin gets visited by a large lorry and its crew. That involves the wear and tear on the the vehicle along with the cost of the fuel. Alongside the wear and tear on the roads from the lorry that visits each location and the wages of the crew.
The problem is that sometimes the visit is not needed as the grit bin is already full where it hasn’t been used from the previous time it was filled. No accurate data is usually kept on this by most councils. However, there is a solution to all these expensive visits.
Grit SMART By KaarbonTech
Grit bin management has traditionally been complex and costly. KaarbonTech provide a software solution to manage all your Grit Bins called Grit SMART.
KaarbonTech have worked alongside some major authorities to develop a system that reduces wastage and minimises the risk of a claim against the council. The result has been a high-speed mix of Android and iOS technology coupled with Ordnance Survey and local authority data.
KaarbonTech software enables the grit bins, or other assets, to be laid over an OS Mastermap and/or aerial imaging. Local authorities also use KaarbonTech software for managing gully cleaning making this viewing option particularly relevant when factoring in environmental features such as areas of flood risk.Local Gov
The system has the capability to link with other geographical data. For example, visual display showing an integrated picture of winter gritting routes, elderly persons’ accommodation, flood zones, un-adopted roads. Integrated knowledge of grit bin locations, location data and grit levels avoids both valuable staff time and fuel costs being wasted on unnecessary repeat visits.Local Gov
The ongoing consistent recording of data enables decisions to be made about the value of retaining unused grit bins and possible redeployment to areas where usage is high. Grit bins are easily portable, compared to most highways assets, and can be moved from their original locations.Local Guv
If a bin is displaced by the general public the software will enable the team to either record the new location or return it to the original site. In addition to internal monitoring and decision making the information held is valuable for external audiences too.Local Guv
Collecting The Grit Bin Data
Wireless handheld devices are used by teams to record bins in need of repair and/or filling. Then work packages are allocated wirelessly to teams out on the road. Carbon emissions are reduced as work can be planned more strategically resulting in fewer journeys and lower fuel costs
Grit Bin Case Study
KaarbonTech has recently been commissioned to perform a grit bin survey for a county council. Using our own grit bin asset management solution. With Grit SMART, we deployed a surveyor to inspect and survey approximately 1,300 bins in three and a half weeks.
Once at the location of each bin, the surveyor inspected the bin and ascertained any damage, whether the bin is in the correct geographical location and the level of salt within. A photograph of the general condition of the bin is taken along with a photograph of the salt level.
Digitised Data Management
Once the survey is completed the system can easily run reports establishing the exact number of bins with salt below a certain percentage that require filling this season. Bins requiring filling are grouped into a work package and then distributed to the fill teams. Integrated route navigation then helps the fill teams go directly to the bin rather than having to hunt for it.
By adopting this approach to grit bin management, local authorities are able to reduce their budget by only filling bins that require filling. The system also provides the authority with protection against litigation by building year on year evidence of visits to the bin and evidence of when they were filled.
UK Gritting – The Numbers
26 County Councils (upper tier)
192 District Councils (lower tier)
32 London Boroughs (unitary)
36 Metropolitan Boroughs (unitary)
55 Unitary authorities (unitary)
2 Sui Generis authorities – City of London Corporation and Isles of Scilly (unitary)
The simple answer is NO, it is only permitted to use the salt/grit from the bins on public roads and footpaths. If you use it for your own personal use you may be prosecuted.
Its estimated that we use over 2 million Tonnes each year and the approx cost is £150 million
No not really. The estimated cost of not gritting could cost the UK economy over £2 billion per year in lost working days.
Old fashioned grit often left behind a sticky residue that some times left a slippery driving surface. It could also block the drains once the ice had melted. Rock salt is crushed by the passing traffic and then creates a saline solution. This melts the ice and then washes away in the drains leaving no blockages
Most councils use the rock salt in 4mm or 6mm rocks. However some councils use larger 10mm rocks in areas where the snowfall is greater in the country.
Public Sector Software Solutions By Kaarbontech
- Gully SMART
- Grit SMART
- Tree SMART
- Grass SMART
Contact us today so we can show how to make savings on your asset maintenance schedule.