If you have already seen a snow gritter on the roads of Darlington this year - there's a perfectly good reason for it after the council has issued an update on this year's plans to grit the roads of the town.

As we approach winter and the colder spells of the year, councils across the UK are preparing their fleet of gritters to ensure they can handle adverse weather conditions this winter. 

If the winter of 2023 is anything like last year, temperatures could reach minus two degrees, while snow and ice could feature heavily in November, December and January.

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While the Met Office long-term forecast doesn't quite stretch far enough to December, Darlington Borough Council are preparing its fleet of seven gritters for the roads this winter. 

The council gritters are available day and night, between October and April, and the council have said that gritting crews will be working hard to keep the roads safe and traffic moving.

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While the gritters will be seen more and more in winter, people in Darlington may have seen them on Wednesday, October 4 between 6.30pm and 9.30pm and a few days following that, due to the council doing a trial run. 

This is to ensure that gritters, which have been idle for six months, are in good working order and to familiarise drivers with the planned routes prior to adverse weather conditions.

The team of 18 drivers, staffed by the council's Street Scene and highways services, maintain six priority routes which cover over 50 per cent of Darlington’s road network, including the main roads into and through the town, as well as all scheduled bus routes.

Treating approximately 190 miles of road in any three-hour shift, the gritting team are responsive to changing weather conditions and grits the roads as and when this is needed.

Updates on planned activity can be found at Darlington BC - Winter gritting and road maintenance 

Cllr Libby McCollom, cabinet member for local services, said: “When Darlington's roads are in the icy grip of winter weather, our winter maintenance team is out at all hours aiming to keep our roads safe and ice-free.

"The service they provide, in addition to their regular day jobs, helps to keep Darlington moving and reduce the impact of adverse weather on individuals, businesses and organisations carrying out essential community functions."