Wednesday, 7 December 2011

‘White knight’ leads new fleet of gritters into battle

‘A ‘White Knight’ will lead Central Bedfordshire’s fleet of new gritters into battle this year as competition winner Perla Heley-Weatherley races to the finish line.
Picked from almost 100 entries as part of the annual winter driving campaign, Perla aged four from Dunstable, was the successful entry from the competition launched on 22 October, at the winter driving event.

Perla Heley-Weatherley commented about her entry: “White is for the snow and knight as the gritter’s keep our roads and drivers safe.”
Perla met with Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities Services and Deputy Executive Member, Cllr Budge Wells, today (7 December), at the Dunstable Depot to see ‘White Knight’ being officially unveiled.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: "Not only would I like to congratulate Perla on her winning entry, but take the opportunity to thank all those who entered, it was very difficult deciding as there were some great ideas put forward.

“The annual winter driving campaign provides advice and tips on how road users can stay safe during the winter months, as well as keeping people up to date with our extensive winter maintenance programme.”

As part of this year’s maintenance programme the fleet will be carrying out as many as six daily salting runs in the most severe weather. The 18-strong vehicles will also carry real-time tracking so base crews can see where they are, how fast they’re moving and how much salt they have spread.

Roads carrying the highest volume of traffic are gritted when road temperatures are expected to drop below zero and when they are expected to be damp.

Cllr Brian Spurr, added: "We keep in store more than 5,500 tonnes of salt – that’s enough to spread over 30,000 football pitches. With the average gritting run using seven tonnes of salt.

“As well as making sure priority roads are sufficiently salted, we have been working over the summer to repair around 1500 potholes caused by last years severe weather – investing over £200,000.

“We want every motorist to be prepared for driving in ice, fog and snow so we are advising people to follow the safety guidance about simple car checks before heading out.”

Make sure tyres have plenty of tread, have extra washer fluid in the car, keep a shovel in the car as well as a blanket, food and water in case of emergencies. Keep headlights clean and watch out for weather forecasts - don’t head out if bad conditions are expected.

Road users are also advised to report dangerous or severe potholes by calling the potholes hotline on 0300 300 8049.

Cllr Brian Spurr (bottom left) presents Perla Heley-Weatherly (aged 4) and mum Catherine with the certificate and goodie bag, joined by the Amey Highways gritting crew.

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