Council promises to prioritise gritting in York during Lockdown

A bus that had skidded on the ice. Photograph: Cllr Pete Kilbane
6 Jan 2021 @ 12.51 pm
| News

After news that 40 people were in A&E with broken bones following slips on icy pavements and roads, the City of York council says it will prioritise gritting during Lockdown.

However it’s not always effective. Some circumstances affect when and how they spread grit, including, traffic, rain that can wash it away and temperatures below -5°C mean it doesn’t always work.

The pubilic have been reminded that they can use grit in the yellow bins and are welcome to spread it too.

Household waste collection is another service that will be kept running as normal.

A council spokesperson said: “We will be introducing stricter staff bubbles to protect staff, redeploying staff from other services and Public Health are also looking to roll our regular testing to staff in the council’s key services.”

Immediate changes have also been introduced to ensure all but essential highways maintenance works have been paused for the duration of Lockdown.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, our crews are working hard to ensure that these services can continue despite the national lockdown. With many key workers currently using the road network, it is important that our roads are gritted, so road conditions are maintained. 

We have been overwhelmed by the response of residents and community groups who are supporting more vulnerable residents across the city.

Again, I would like to thank our staff, residents and communities enough for truly demonstrating how York comes together in times of crisis.

However, even with these additional measures, some services like waste may still be affected if case numbers significantly increase amongst staff. This could include some delays or missed collections and the need to co-mingle some items.”

Key services and changes summary from City of York Council:

  • Waste: some co-mingling may occur due to staff absences because of increased COVID infections and there may be some missed collections.  Staff are operating in bubbles to protect crews
  • Highways repairs/gritting: essential pothole repair and winter gritting will continue as normal. Staff are operating in bubbles to protect gritting drivers
  • Outdoor gyms: sports areas, basketball courts and outdoor gyms are now closed
  • Household waste sites at Hazel Court and Towthorpe: These services remain open
  • Explore Libraries will be opening at York, Acomb and Tang Hall for public access to PCs, in order to ensure that everyone in York has access to the internet and isn’t digitally excluded. There will also be a click and collect from Acomb and Tang Hall.  These centres will be open Mon-Fri 10am to 3pm and Sat 10am 1pm
  • Aa takeaway service will also operate from Rowntree Park Reading Café, seven days a week between 9am- 4pm.
  • Christmas tree collection – York residents can take their real trees for recycling to Tescos at Askham Bar in York between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 10 January.
  • Footstreets – operating hours will revert to 10.30am to 5pm (not 8pm). Extensions (Blake Street/Lendal & Goodramgate/Colliergate sections) will remain in place.
  • Street Works – Works to accelerate the delivery of utilities will take place were possible and whilst traffic levels are lower.
  • Lockdown restrictions may affect the frequency of buses on some routes. Please check the itravelyork and operator websites for the latest information:
  • Piccadilly car park is now closed.

Help to ensure your waste/recycling collections can continue as normal, by following these steps:

  • Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags
  • Double bag – these bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room
  • This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin
  • Wipe down bins and boxes etc before and after collection
  • Minimise the waste you throw away
  • Park in a way that allows the waste lorry access


  • So far this season the crews have treated the roads and trial cycle network on 22 occasions, using 1,100 tonnes of salt
  • Each time our nine large and three mini gritters treat York’s network they cover around 390 kilometres of road, footways and cycle-paths, with up to 100 tonnes of salt
  • Crews leave as early as 4am to ensure the city’s main roads, footpaths and cycle ways are treated
  • Some circumstances affect when and how we spread grit, including, traffic, rain that can wash away grit, unexpected changes and temperatures below -5°C, which make grit less effective.
  • Yellow warnings of ice expected to remain in York over the next week, meaning icy patches are expected to develop, especially on untreated surfaces
  • therefore, it is vital that people travel to the conditions and leave extra time to complete their journey.
  • The aim of the winter maintenance service is, as far as is reasonably possible, to allow the safe movement of traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, on York roads, footways and cycleway during times of adverse winter weather
  • it also seeks to keep delays and accidents to a minimum
  • Precautionary treatment is undertaken before ice forms or snow settles on the highway
  • Precautionary treatment will only be to footways and carriageways on the defined network, which excludes most footways, cycleway and all car parks
  • The gritting of cycle route networks forms part of our winter maintenance, unfortunately resources do not allow us to treat these as frequently as the primary network, these routes will be treated as and when resources becomes available.