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Road Salting 2017-18

Latest: see www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting


SCC Winter Service

Somerset County Council salts over 1,400km (870 miles) of its roads in anticipation of frost, snow and ice. This is approximately 21% of its entire road network, as shown on the map below. The M5, A303 and the A36 are maintained and treated by the Highways England.

What we do

Road salting is carried out in order to assist the safe movement of highway users in conditions of snow and ice.  Resources are not available to treatall roads. Criteria have been used that meet national guidelines to enable the Pre-Salting Network to be defined.  This has been done to ensure a consistent approach across the county and achieve a responsible balance between cost and level of service.

The criteria used to define the routes are listed below in order of importance.

1. Strategic and County Routes

2. Freight Routes

3. Links to Emergency Locations

4. Links to Adjoining Counties

5. Links to Major Settlements

6. Links to Settlements above 500 feet

7. Links to Urban/Rural Schools (Major)

In some parishes salt bins are located at key points to encourage self-help. We provide salt at these places on the understanding that it is used for highway purposes.

When are roads salted?

Salting is carried out when road surface temperatures are predicted to drop below 1°C and frost or ice is expected to form on the road. Normally, precautionary salting is carried out in the evening or early morning.  However, during severe weather conditions we may have to salt at

other times.

If frost follows rain in the early hours, or freezing occurs unexpectedly, there may not be enough time to salt the entire priority network before the morning rush hour. Motorists, therefore, should drive with caution and not assume that salting has been carried out.

What we can do

  • Carry out precautionary salting on the pre-salting network when there is a risk of ice or snow. 
  • Clear the routes of snow accumulation in priority order.
  • Keep the public informed through the media as far as possible.

What we can’t do

  • Treat Motorway or Trunk Roads, as these are the responsibility of the Highways England.
  • Salt all highways.
  • Keep roads free of ice and snow all of the time.

What you can do

  • Prepare your vehicle for winter.
  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before travelling.
  • Allow extra time for your journey.
  • Give gritters and snow ploughs plenty of room to operate.
  • Carry a shovel and blanket in your vehicle.


  • Only the busiest roads are salted, most are not - drive safely.
  • In icy conditions braking distances can increase tenfold.
  • Regularly check your tyre treads throughout the season.
  • It takes time for salt to become effective.
  • Rain can wash salt off roads.
  • In very low temperatures even salting does not prevent icing.
  • Extra caution is needed when driving in bad weather.

Can I clear snow myself?

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries sustained if you have cleared it carefully.

Follow the Snow Code when clearing snow and ice safely.

  • If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the pathways
  • more dangerous by causing them to refreeze.
  • Clear the snow or ice early in the day
  • Use salt or sand – not water
  • Take care where you move the snow
  • Offer to clear your neighbour’s path

For further information on the Snow Code please go to:-

https://www.gov.uk/clear-snow-road-path-cycleway or contact SCC.