Highway Maintenance

Winter Maintenance Policy

1. Relevant Legislation

1.1 It is the County Council’s duty to meet the requirements of the Highways Act 1980, Section 150 41(1)(A) which places a duty on the authority to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice.

2. Policy

2.1 The County Council will manage its Winter Service in accordance with its ‘Winter Maintenance and Severe Weather Emergency Response Plan, which is reviewed annually.

2.2 The objective of the County Council is to initiate and manage established procedures for dealing with weather emergencies, enabling as far as reasonably possible, the safe movement of highway users throughout the County.

2.3 It is the County Council’s policy, as far as reasonably practicable, to attempt to maintain bare road surfaces at all times, as far as the resources available for undertaking this work permit.

2.4 At times of predicted low temperatures, salt will be spread to help prevent frost or ice forming on main thoroughfares. When snow falls and accumulates on highway surfaces, ploughs and other appropriate plant will be used to remove snow and salt and/or grit will be spread to help melt the snow and to prevent ice forming.

2.5 As the total highway network cannot be treated simultaneously within the resources available to the County Council, priorities have been established to determine treatment levels.

3. Priorities for Winter Maintenance treatment

3.1 All public highways within the County shall be allocated to one of four groupings depending upon the level of traffic carried and the strategic importance of the highway to the road network and the community.

3.2 Priority Treatment Categories

  • Priority One routes: to be treated as routine pre-salting, in advance of any forecast frost, ice or snow.

  • Priority Two routes: to be treated only where there is prolonged and persistent frost or ice which is expected to continue, or following snow.

  • Priority Three routes: to be treated only after significant snow has fallen.

  • Community Routes : to be treated only where there is prolonged and persistent frost or ice which is expected to continue, or following snow.

3.3 Network Hierarchy Treatment Categories

Priority One


  • main traffic routes ("A" class roads)

  • main access routes to important industrial and large educational establishments

  • main access routes to major accident and emergency hospitals, and to important emergency service locations

  • roads used as major bus routes - exceeding 50 buses/day urban 25 buses/day rural

  • roads passing through major shopping centres

  • other routes busy during peak traffic periods

  • routes to prepared rest centres (during a declared weather emergency only)

  • routes to critical infrastructure such as key military establishments

Priority Two


  • single access routes to villages

  • roads near other schools

  • roads used as other bus routes

  • roads to other hospitals

  • roads to minor fire and ambulance establishments

  • roads passing through other shopping centres

  • major pedestrian precincts and pedestrianised areas

Priority Three


  • access routes to farms and to other isolated dwellings

  • residential roads

  • other pedestrian precincts and busy footways

  • cycletracks

  • all other public highways

Community Routes


  • routes to all other schools not covered by existing Priority One or Two routes

  • routes to larger community facilities and healthcare centres

Version No:   1.1

Effective from:   14/10/2010

If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.