General, Improving our roads, Transport

London to Cape Town – the distance covered by Surrey’s gritters at the weekend

A gritting lorry being loaded up at Surrey County Council's Merrow depot near Guildford.

Surrey County Council’s fleet of gritting lorries treated almost 6,500 miles of roads as snow fell this weekend, which is further than travelling from London to Cape Town*.

The gritters had 17,000 tonnes of salt to draw upon – 30% more than last year – which has been stored at depots across the county in preparation for snow and ice this winter. They used about 1,500 tonnes over the weekend.

Work began early on Friday evening as roads were gritted in preparation for ice caused by plunging temperatures.

The operation kicked into high gear on Saturday when, with snow forecast, gritters went out at 3pm, 6pm and 10pm to help make Surrey’s roads as safe as possible.

As snow fell on Saturday evening, county council ploughs were called into action to clear roads, along with Surrey farmers who tackled more rural areas. Gritters and ploughs were again out on Sunday with roads being treated at 4am, 3pm and 6.30pm.

Ian Lake, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “We’ve got more salt, more gritters and more miles of road being treated than in previous years, which means we’re better prepared than ever to keep Surrey moving during bad winter weather.

“A round-the-clock operation took place at the weekend to help make our roads as safe as possible with gritters treating almost 6,500 miles of road, using around 1,500 tonnes of salt.

“We’re also urging communities to support us by clearing snow from around their own properties and by looking out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours.”


For more information and for filming opportunities contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at

Notes to editors

* Distance between London to Cape Town in South Africa as the crow flies is about 6,000 miles.



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