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Roads - gritting

We are responsible for keeping 9,000km of roads - from major principal routes to narrow country lanes - moving during periods of extreme weather.

Winter maintenance is important in keeping road users, pedestrians and the economy moving and in minimising delays caused by adverse weather. Motorways and trunk roads such as the A1, A1(M), A66, A66(M), A64, A168 (Dishforth to Thirsk) and A19 (Thirsk to Crathorne) are the responsibility of the Highways Agency.

The council's contractor, Ringway, has a workforce based at strategic locations and provides an effective response to problems that may occur during the winter maintenance period, which runs from 1 October to 30 April.

When we will grit the roads


We grit our roads in the order below, as resources permit, based on traffic flows and the best use of our gritters.

  • Priority one roads will be gritted by 7am.
    These include major traffic routes which connect or pass through towns and other major centres of population. They account for 2,300km, or 28 per cent, of our road network.
  • Priority two roads will be gritted by 10am.
    These generally provide access to local communities. They account for 2,100km, or 25 per cent of our road network.
  • Priority three roads will not normally be gritted.
    These include roads in housing estates and country lanes. They account for 4,500km, or 46 per cent, of our road network. We will consider treating them if conditions persist for more than 72 hours and resources allow.

Most scheduled buses and over 75 per cent of school buses run on gritted routes, however we are unable to treat all our roads due to the time and cost involved.

For more advice on our winter service, including clearing snow and ice and driving tips, you can read our winter service guide:

We update Twitter with our planned gritting activity and you can follow us @northyorkscc or search for the hashtag #nygrit.

You can also view our live weather cameras online here.

How we decide when to grit

We use the latest weather forecasting technology, which includes ice prediction weather stations, a 24-hour weather forecast and road temperature sensor data.

Requesting a change to a route

It is unlikely that any additional roads will be added to our current routes. If you have an exceptional case for amending a route, you can contact us. Any submission would benefit from having the support of your parish or town council and local county councillor.

Salt heaps and salt bins

We provide salt heaps and bins for use on roads and footways in severe weather, but not for use on private property. You can view where our salt heaps and bins are on our online maps. They are placed based on our policy criteria, which include road gradient, severity of bends, usage, and whether or not the road is already gritted. Parish councils can acquire and maintain additional bins at their expense, at a cost of £50 for a bin and an annual £75 charge for up to two refills.

They are replenished by 1 November and a second refill may be carried out mid-season or after significant snowfall.

We may remove bins where salt is being used indiscriminately or on private property. You can buy rock salt from most DIY or garden centres.

This page was last updated on 20 November 2013