Precautionary gritting of the highway based on forecast temperatures and levels of frost, ice or snow.

The purpose of this service is to minimise accidents and disruption caused by the weather. Designated routes will be gritted when we determine that carriageway conditions require treatment.

It should be noted that gritting does not guarantee that at any given time the highway will be free of ice or snow, even following treatment as Rock Salt becomes less effective in very heavy snow and also at temperatures below -5 deg. C.

How do we monitor weather conditions?

From October to April we receive daily forecasts of expected weather conditions for a 24 hour period and a prediction for the following five days. The forecasts are specific to Coventry and are based on data received from three specialised weather stations across the City, giving information about road temperatures, conditions and existing salt cover. This information is updated every hour, and constantly checked to allow services to act quickly and efficiently.

See this video about how we prioritise which roads to grit:


 We aim to:

  • Grit 415km of Coventry's network between the start of November and the end of March, as and when required.
  • Provide salt bins for public use throughout Coventry.
  • In more severe conditions, clear snow from footways around key public and commercial areas.

 How you can help us:

  • Take extra care when walking or driving in snow and icy conditions
  • Remember that not all roads are gritted
  • Report empty salt bins

Further winter weather advice is available from the

Gritting routes

There are 8 gritting routes in Coventry and each route has its own dedicated gritting vehicle. We also have a spare vehicle available as emergency back up.

We aim to complete each route within 3.5 hours of being called into action and action is always started in time to ensure salt is in place before freezing occurs.

The routes are chosen based on their strategic value to the city's road network and include those that service most schools, blue light services (Police, Fire , Ambulance stations), major commercial centres and most frequent bus routes. Unfortunately, it is not possible to grit every road in the city so we have to stick to these dedicated routes only.


Link for Coventry City Council network

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Severe weather conditions (Priority 1 Routes only)

When extreme weather conditions occur it may not be possible to afford the same level of winter service across the 8 routes we would normally treat. For this reason there is a further level of high priority routes which are considered of vital importance to Coventry. These routes are defined as priority 1 routes and are shown on the Under these conditions it is our aim to ensure all priority 1 routes should be kept clear to their full width.

Hand gritting

In addition to gritting routes by vehicle we also grit certain areas by hand when conditions dictate. Please read our

About rock salt

Grit is the generic term for 'rock salt' and it helps keep roads safe by preventing them becoming icy. It works by lowering the temperature at which water freezes. It relies on pedestrian movement on pavements or the action of vehicle tyres to spread it over the road, but it can actually get too cold for the salt to work. Below -5 degrees centigrade, the effectiveness of grit is reduced and pavements/roads may still freeze.

Rain or snow can wash the salt away leaving the area prone to re-icing. Salting ideally needs to take place after rain but before the water freezes. Where this is not possible, we may treat the same roads more than once on the same day.

Rock salt is stored at our Whitley Depot in a salt barn that has an operating capacity of 4,000 tonnes. This is filled to capacity every October.

Each full treatment uses 50 tonnes on average. During an average winter, we use between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes. With 4,000 tonnes in stock, we are well prepared for even a severe winter. In addition, we have mutual aid agreements with surrounding local authorities and can also call on Government stockpiles dotted around the country in extreme cases.

Self help grit bins

There are over 250 yellow or black bins filled with salt (grit) for use in the community on public roads and pavements subsidising our gritting routes. Locations can be found on the

The salt in the community bins is for use only within the community on public paths, pavements and roads only - not for private use on driveways or garden paths.

Link for Coventry City Council network

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Who can use the salt?

Anyone can use the salt to put on the roads or pavements. This can be particularly useful to 'join up' salting from the main to smaller access roads or on the pavements to the local school.

How much salt to use?

Half a tablespoon of salt (10 grams) is sufficient to treat one square metre of road/pavement surface. Please use the salt carefully - overuse will result in it being used up too quickly and can lead to large piles of undiluted salt that people can slip or trip on.

Spreading the grit

Safety is the most important factor:

  • Only spread the grit when there are no vehicles or pedestrians about;
  • Wear bright clothing to ensure that you can be seen clearly;
  • Don't assume that the road or footway is safe just because you have spread the grit.
  • Look after the environment - use the minimum grit necessary. A shovel full of grit will be sufficient for 20-30 square metres. For maximum effect the grit should be spread in tyre tracks or on the main footway used.

How do the bins get refilled?

The bins are all inspected and filled at the beginning of the winter period. They are restocked with grit when needed depending upon their usage and the severity of the weather. We refill the salt bins as soon as reasonably possible and in bad weather we will endeavour to fill up empty bins on route.

At times of prolonged severe weather, the priority of the winter maintenance teams will be to salt the main roads and we may not be able to refill the salt bins as quickly as at other times.

Who decides where the bins go?

Highways will consider requests for additional grit bins based on consideration of the following criteria:

  • The highway gradient (steepness of road and footways)
  • Sharp bends
  • Proximity to main junctions with main roads
  • Other factors e.g. elderly persons' accommodation


Can a grit bin be removed?

Often grit bins become the focus of vandalism. If this becomes an particular nuisance, a request for the bin to be removed can be made.

Consultation with other local residents in the area and local ward councillors would be needed before the facility is withdrawn on nuisance grounds.

Damaged grit bins

If a grit bin is damaged, the location will be /downloads/file/16368/grit_bin_assessment_form before the bin is replaced. If the site does not meet the criteria, subject to consultation as outlined above, then the grit bin may not be replaced.

Clearing snow and ice from pavements

For advice on clearing snow and ice from pavements, see the on the Met Office website.

Reporting empty salt bins

To report an empty salt bin, please Please tell us the exact location of the bin (street name, area and outside which house number) when reporting and ideally quote the unique reference of the salt bin as shown on the

Link for Coventry City Council network

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Winter maintenance policy

The Winter Service can be briefly described as precautionary salting or treatment of the highway network based on a pre-established priority system, forecast temperatures, and levels of ice or snow. The purpose of this service is to minimise accidents and disruption caused by the weather and enable the authority to discharge its responsibilities and obligations.

As the Highway Authority we have a statutory duty to ensure that Coventry's highway infrastructure is safe for use by our stakeholders and users. Designated routes will be gritted when Officers determine that carriageway conditions require treatment.

It should be noted that the service does not guarantee that at any given time the highway will be free of ice or snow, even following treatment as Rock Salt becomes less effective in very heavy snow and also at temperatures below -5°C.

Operating Period

The period for 24 hour continual monitoring and priority operating will run from 1 October until 30 April.

The winter operating period will run from November to March each year. This year it will commence on 26 October 2020 to 4 March 2021, but may be extended if weather conditions determine that this is necessary.

Relative risk at the differing points throughout the season

Risk period



Weather conditions


A period of standby to ensure salting starts within 1 hour of instruction with a possibility of continuous 24 hour operations.

December, January, February

Severe – probable


A period of standby with low possibility of continuous 24 hour operations

November and


Severe – may occur


Call out

October, April

Severe – not expected

Service provision

The service covers both precautionary and reactive salting / gritting and snow clearance on designated routes covering 415km of the highway network across the City over a 20 week period from early November to mid-March,

During the winter operating period Highways Operations will provide the necessary resources (including suitably trained personnel) in order to achieve the required standards. The Council’s Street Pride – North East and City Centre team (NE&CC) will also carry out the salting / gritting of certain footways and car parks within the City Centre.

Rock Salt is stored at the City Councils Whitley Depot in a Salt Barn that has an operating capacity of 4000T and this is filled to capacity October each year.

During an average Winter 2000-2500T of Rock Salt is used over 40-50 treatments. Each full treatment uses 50T on average.

The following treatment actions may be instructed as appropriate to the forecast conditions.

Precautionary Salting

Road salting is undertaken on Priority Route Network (PRN) before ice or snow is likely to be present on the road surface. 

Post Salting (including snow clearing)

Road salting is undertaken when ice or snow is already present on the road surface.

Snow clearance

Snow clearance will be carried out to either prevent the accumulation of or to clear snow. Route priority and requirements will be determined by the SDO/DO as outlined within this plan.

At times of heavy snowfall, other resources from within the Place Directorate will assist with the hand salting / gritting of footpaths and junctions.

Winter duty officers

The decision making process as to whether or not to carry out some form of winter maintenance action is carried out by nominated Senior Duty Officers. These officers form a duty rota to cover the complete winter period. This decision will be based largely on predicted road surface temperatures (NOT air temperatures), the amount of moisture on the road and/or the amount of residual salt on the network from previous treatments.

All Senior Duty Officers are required to have received advanced weather forecast training prior to commencement of the role.

Senior Duty Officers (SDO)

The SDO is required to monitor and record all weather information and road sensor data.  Based on this information, to then decide if a treatment is required and at what time treatment should be made. Once a decision has been made the Duty Officer will be informed of the treatment actions. All actions are then recorded by the SDO. The SDO also contacts all relevant City Council Departments and arranges for a tweet to be sent out using the #WMGrit hashtag to help inform the public of intended action.

Duty Officers (DO)

The Duty Officer is responsible for the execution of the operation and is required to make decisions they feel are required to ensure the operation is completed within the 3.5 hours treatment time.

Duty Officers are required to regularly record locations of winter maintenance vehicles (tracker system) and weather / surface conditions, to demonstrate that the Council has discharged its obligations.

When the Duty Officer is informed by the Senior Duty Officer of a treatment decision the Duty Officer will carry out the following:

  • Contact all winter vehicle drivers including JCB Operator and vehicles fitters
  • Inform winter crews on arrival at the depot of the required routes treatments
  • Instruct workshop vehicle fitters to mobilise ploughs if required.
  • Liaise with ESU and inform all local radio stations and police that a call out is taking place and a brief reason why, subject to Council communications policy.
  • Record all times of the gritting operation, an accurate log will be kept of all occurrences that take place with respective times and reasons.
  • Record and report any winter vehicle defects to the vehicle workshop Supervisor.

Weather forecasting information

Weather forecasts are provided on a daily basis throughout the winter period to CCC by MetDesk, who will provide a detailed forecast covering an initial 24hr period, and longer 2-5 day summary.

Local weather information is fed into the forecasting process via 3 local weather stations situated on Tamworth Road, A45 Fletchampstead Highway and the Ring Road Junction 4.

Winter Service Network (WSN)

Coventry City Council considers this service as essential, it will therefore treat its road network including carriageway and areas of footway according to their importance in the highway hierarchy and the prevailing weather conditions. 

For this reason the Winter Service Network (WSN) has been established and the risk determined. Route plans and road lists for the routes are held at the operational depots and at the Highways office. The WSN consists of 8 key routes.

Each route has a dedicated gritting vehicle plus 1 vehicle is kept at the Depot as back up should there be a breakdown that the on-duty fitter cannot repair.

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Prioritised Route Network (PRN)

However when extreme conditions are evident on the network it may not possible to afford the same level of winter service across the whole WSN.  For this reason there is a further level of prioritised routes within the WSN which are of a strategic importance to Coventry.  These routes are defined as priority 1 routes.

Mutual aid arrangements

CCC have contingency arrangements in the form of a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) through the West Midlands HIMIG Winter maintenance subgroup. The group includes the following maintenance authorities; Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC), Warwickshire County Council (WCC), Kier (representing Birmingham City Council), Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley.

Salt bins

A highway authority provides salt bins on the highway network. Salt bins are provided for residents to self-help in salting the roads and footways in their areas. In order for the bin to be utilised, it must be provided close to residents who are prepared (but not obliged) to spread the salt. Salt bins will only be provided if the route is not on a precautionary salting route. Any changes to the salt bin locations shall be agreed with the Council.  Requests for the provision of salt bins are assessed using a strict scoring criteria.