A ‘MORE efficient’ winter gritting service for Craven and North Yorkshire has been agreed by the county council.

The county council says recent improvements in the ability of gritters to spread more accurately and the reduction in the average age of the fleet have led to a move towards lower minimum salt spread rates.

The authority’s business and environmental services executive has now approved the proposals which could result in £120,000 savings this financial year. The council says it remains committed to maintaining the level of its winter maintenance service.

David Bowe, corporate director of business and environmental services, said: “We are moving to a more efficient and cost-effective way of delivering our service based on a review of national research and improved technology. The last time our spread rates were fully reviewed was over 12 years ago and advances in technology mean we can still deliver a comprehensive service but in a more cost-effective manner.

“We’ll always ensure our salt spread rates are appropriate for weather conditions. With routine treatments during milder winters the saving could be around £120,000 for the coming winter season. We will be able to utilise any efficiency savings on other essential council services.

“Any savings will depend on the weather conditions as no two winters are the same. We can spend between £6m and £10m delivering our winter service. Salt accounts for around a third of that cost. Please be assured that these changes will not compromise the safety of our roads.”

Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, added: “As the County Council invests in modern equipment like ploughs and gritters, so we can introduce fine adjustments to our methods, thereby making valuable savings for our taxpayers, whilst continuing to deliver one of the most comprehensive winter gritting services in the country.”