TEAMS of gritters have been making their first trips out of the winter this week, and council bosses say they will be doing all they can to keep the town’s motorists moving as the frosts begin to bite.
Derbyshire County Council now has 24,000 tonnes of rock salt in stock and its teams went on their first spreading mission at 4am on Monday, as the temperature dropped close to freezing.
Staffordshire County Council has also been stocking up with 30,000 tonnes of grit put by and contractors and volunteer snow wardens have been placed on stand by.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “Winter weather is an expensive business. Snow and ice have a massive knock-on effect for local communities and the Derbyshire economy.
“Problems on the roads can lead to supplies arriving late, deliveries to customers not being made and staff being unable to get to work because of travel difficulties or childcare issues when schools close. That’s bad news for business – particularly small businesses.
“We’ll be doing all we can to keep Derbyshire’s roads clear this winter to keep the county moving.
Staffordshire County Council, which has installed a new weather monitoring station on the A52 just outside the town this year, has this week launced ‘Operation Snowflake’ which sees it starting preparations for the winter.
Simon Tagg, the authority’s cabinet support member for transport, said: “Last winter the crews did a fantastic job helping to keep the roads open and the county safely on the move in quite treacherous conditions.
“We are all hoping for a milder winter, but Operation Snowflake helps ensure we are fully prepared for whatever the weather delivers and helps ensure we can make pre-emptive strikes and minimise the impact of ice, snow and flooding on our roads.
“As we are such a vast, rural county we have use a mix of shift-patterns and deploy gritting lorries and snow ploughs depending on the conditions in a particular part of the county.
“Operation Snowflake marks the start of winter for the county council and our highways teams will be out in force over the coming months doing everything they can to keep the county safely moving.
“But when the bad weather does come people can play their part too by taking extra care on the roads, looking out for neighbours and friends and by joining our army of ice busters to help communities keep local footpaths clear of snow and ice.”
To find out more or to monitor snow updates visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/snow or www.staffordshire.gov.uk