Gritters kept busy on roads in one of the coldest winters

Records are being broken by gritters on West Sussex roads.

The county council's gritting fleet has already been out more than 40 times since November '“ the same amount as the authority budgets for in an entire year, which is determined by average outings over the previous three years.

If the cold snap continues until the end of this month, it is estimated that there will be a budget overspend.

But Cllr Derek Whittington, the county cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said the safety of road users was the highest priority.

"We will continue to grit as often as is necessary," he declared. "It has been one of the coldest winters for some years and budgeting for winter maintenance is not an exact science.

"The increased costs will be in the region of 300,000 but we would never stop the gritters going out for financial reasons," he added.

Preparations for the winter maintenance season started last October, with Operation Snowflake.

As part of the annual event, gritters, snowploughs and other equipment were tested.

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