Volunteer salt-spreaders praised for showing true Yorkshire grit

This story was published 25 October 2022

The selfless work of volunteers who keep their communities moving even in the most extreme weather conditions is being recognised ahead of the winter gritting season.

Riccall Snow Patrol

Our innovative community gritting partnership scheme allows communities the chance to have access to grit to help clear snow and ice from their streets.

As England’s largest county, North Yorkshire requires 55,000 tonnes of salt on average annually which is spread on the roads and placed in salt heaps and bins. These are topped-up at least once a year.

The community partnerships scheme represents collaborative working between ourselves and parish councils, town councils or other community organisations who coordinate volunteers in their area.

Those who join the scheme have to pay for equipment and grit, which can be purchased directly from us at a cost of £100 per tonne.

Riccall Parish Council created a community gritting team in 2011 called Snow Patrol. The parish council saw the opportunity to help residents, especially vulnerable residents, get out of their houses and access facilities during bouts of bad weather.

The lead councillor for the parish council when the scheme was launched was Cllr Keith Dawson.

He said: “We promoted the idea to residents and we were pleasantly surprised by the number of volunteers who wanted to get involved.

“The scheme enhances the community spirit and shows how much people value helping their neighbours. The county council supported us with procedures, risk assessments, training and insurance. We could not have launched without this help.”

The current coordinator for the parish council is Cllr Nick Morton.

He added: "We have 20 wonderful and enthusiastic volunteers. Highways officers are always on hand to let us know when we should go out gritting. 

“We do get more frost than snow. However, for either, it is brilliant that we can help vulnerable people in the village to get out of their homes. We prioritise well-used pavements as well as key routes to bus stops, shops, the doctor’s surgery and the post office.”

Executive member for highways and transport, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “We are incredibly proud of these community partnerships which are making a huge difference in winter service delivery from the most urban areas of the county to the most rural.

“Due to the size of the county and the resources available to clear snow and ice, it's not possible for us to grit all footpaths and roads during severe conditions.

“The vital partnerships encourage people to help their neighbours during the toughest times of the year. Thank you to all of the dedicated volunteers who have stepped up to be involved.”

Anybody interested in joining the scheme can find out more and apply here.