Gritting Leicester – Weatherwise Services have that covered

The four seasons in the UK all have a distinctness, yet climate change can sometimes make the distinctions blurred:

Winter is generally defined as the months of December, January and February.

Spring is March, April and May.

Summer June, July, August

Autumn is September, October, November. 

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Gritting Leicester

At Weatherwise Services, a leading gritting services company with headquarters in Leicestershire, we don’t define our work schedule of spreading gritting salt in such a rigid way. Why? Because we all know that weather patterns are uncertain.

Gardeners, botanists, weather forecasters enjoy the seasonal definitions and often throw in early, mid or late, to leave us in no doubt what month they’re referring to. Late Autumn is November, early summer is June etc. You get the idea?

Our work schedule is both intensive and relaxed.

We work when temperatures are low, when ice and frost form on roads and paths, times that see the Weatherwise Services team turn into nocturnal gritting machines. We have workers perched on a gritting lorry, waiting for the signal from our MDs, Andy and Tim, to hit the roads and pavements from the Welsh border to Lincolnshire as reliable gritting contractors.

It’s a vast area as you can imagine, and because it’s inland (and colder in spring, autumn and winter), we are, to put it mildly, stretched when the mercury drops. Last year, we expended a record amount of gritting salt keeping businesses safe, open and happy and the team were relieved when Tim and Andy stopped pinging them to leave their homes in late spring. 

But what does gritting Leicester mean?

Because English is such a complex language, gritting means two things:

  1. Spread grit and often salt on (icy surfaces) 

“The main roads in Leicester will be gritted from 6.30 pm tonight”

2. Grate

“Fine red dust that is gritted between the teeth.”

It has other meanings too – one of strength (as in John Wayne’s “True Grit” with gritty sheriff, Rooster Cogburn, and in street language, staring at someone intensely! 

“- Mattie Ross: Who’s the best marshal they have?

  • ‘Sheriff’: Bill Waters is the best tracker. The meanest one is Rooster Cogburn, a pitiless man, double tough, fear don’t enter into his thinking.”


However we stick to the first definition, as that’s our job – gritting Leicester (and elsewhere).

We are a specialist gritting company

Dictionary definitions to one side, not all gritting is the same, as not all conditions and workplaces are the same. One of our niche gritting specialisms is brine spraying. This is where sensitive areas would be damaged by salt. Metal stairways, concrete pathways, mezzanine areas all demand a different approach to protect and still dissipate ice and snow accumulation.  Brine is a mixture of salt and water and is either applied manually or mechanically with specialised gritting equipment. 

Read more here:

Our main function however is as gritting Leicester contractors

We spread rock salt, or grit paths and roads. This is not an exact science but there is some method in our acts (or madness?) We do cover areas that are hilly between Lincolnshire and Wales on our gritting routes from our gritting Leicester base.  Steep hills and sharp bends need a thick layer of gritting than flat, straight roads. We use 10-15 grams of rock salt per square metre, and this is increased to 20 to 40 grams if severe weather is greeted or if rain has fallen before low temperatures. 

Tim explains more about the methodology of gritting:

“When making salting decisions we use weather forecasts, computerised ice prediction systems and information from roadside weather stations to get the most accurate indications of where and when ice is likely to form. However, road surface temperatures and air temperatures are rarely the same and the road surface temperature is also used to make decisions on when to apply salt.”


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Salt for gritting

Sometimes too, though this is rare in England, it can get too cold for gritting to be effective. If the temperature drops below -10, rock salt won’t fully work. But this is rare, if not freak weather, so 99.9% of the time our gritting formula works. Salt for gritting Leicester is roundly effective. 

Why does your business need gritting services?

First and foremost, ice and frost are a health and safety matter and as an employer you have a duty of care to your staff and visitors to keep them safe. Whether you’re a hospital, a railway station, a school, a shop or a business on an industrial park, you don’t want people and vehicles injured and damaged because of ice, snow and frost. 

We carry out an extensive and free site survey to assess the services you would benefit from. We use satellite surveying software to inform this audit too and all our gritting lorries are tracked, with reports for you available on request from our gritting Leicester base.

We only grit surfaces when they’re needed – if our predictive app states temperatures of 8 degrees on 5th December in your location, you won’t see grit on your roads and pavements the next day.  Grit can easily become a scarce commodity in poor weather – places like Wales, we know for a fact, spent just £6 million on rock salt in 2018. We don’t want to waste precious grit, when it’s not needed. You don’t want to pay us either when our Leicester gritting services are not needed. 

We use marine salt too from Egypt or the Mediterranean as it binds better!

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Do we use a gritting machine?

The simple answer is yes and many machines. Some gritting is done by hand, some is mechanical. If we look at gritting of paths and pavements, we use drop spreaders, rotary spreaders and scoop-distributed salt. 

This gritting machine paraphernalia sounds complex, but really it’s self-explanatory, we hope.

A drop spreader is similar to the divide you’d use on a lawn to drop seed or fertiliser. They ensure even distribution of feed and seed and our gritting drop spreader works on a similar principle. 

If a spreader can be deemed aesthetically attractive, the garden ones look better as our gritting salt spreaders have larger trees and wheels, a greater storage capacity (shaped like a large funnelled bin) and a sturdy framework. They’re used, at dusk and night, in cold weather where speed and accuracy is of the essence and so need a higher capacity of rock salt (usually about 25 kg) with a flow control mechanism to apply different levels where necessary.

A grit rotary spreader works in a similar way but allows exact setting of application rate and covers a wider area from 2 to 6 metres wide. This is ideal for railway platforms, retail park entrances and school playgrounds, where a gritting lorry would not be an option. Again, their hopper capacity is usually set at 25kg meaning one of our Leicestershire gritting teams can actually manoeuvre it. Any heavier and it would become very difficult!

Scoop-distributed salt is simply a term for spreading grit using a stronger version of a dustpan where small areas need to be tackled intensively. 

Lastly, we have gritting lorries on our books for the widest coverage of roads, business parks, grounds etc. 

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These are fully tracked, with sat nav for precision and they are manned by our team of gritting salt experts, including Andy and Tim. When severe weather occurs, it literally is all hands to the pumps. 

The team are deployed via the specialist weather app we use, from our gritting HQ near Leicester and hundreds of square miles are covered by the team in each gritting lorry. We have 12 gritting lorries on hand for gritting the roads, carrying gritting salt and carrying out gritting jobs. 

This fleet keeps you safe and protected from ice, snow and bad weather. They are proactively dispatched too – which means they work by dropping larger form rock salt on roads BEFORE ice and snow have a chance to build. They are expensive vehicles too to buy and maintain, with private companies and councils investing thousands in a gritting lorry.

Each council has a varying number of them too – Leicestershire, a relatively small county, has 23 covering 1300 miles of public roads, whilst Staffordshire, with parts of it in the exposed Peak District and hilly terrain, has 40 lorries.

“The new vehicles have all been put through their paces and are standing by ready for action.  They’re also all fitted with the latest safety and satellite technology to help make sure that drivers can get around safely and that roads get the right amount of grit.

“On a typical winter day or night, our crews will be out largely on key A and B roads, but in prolonged ice or snow we will also be treating less major routes across the network. With our new gritters, more than 20,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled, and the county’s hill contractors also on call on the higher ground we are well prepared for whatever winter throws at us.”

Helen Fisher, Highways Chief at Staffordshire County Council

As yet, Weatherwise Services have not given a name to any of our gritting lorries – perhaps one for the future?

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So why can’t businesses simply use council gritters?

Put simply, it’s to do with cost. County gritting teams and their policies often split routes in three – primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary gritting routes are those regarded as essential – motorways and A roads like the M1, M6 and A38 are prioritised for example. City centres and their routes in often come second, whilst rural roads are usually given the lowest priority. 

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Clearing ice from cars on our drive, expecting a workplace to close, until we hit a main road and realise there is no ice or frost on these as the council have gritted them.

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Councils though will not usually grit private land, like roads, paths and car parks on land used for commercial premises. A school will ask its caretaking staff to spread salt, a hospital will have its own gritting bins and team to deal with ice, if a council doesn’t cover it; a football club, with its vast car parks and pavements will usually sub contract gritting to an expert team like us. 

Rock salt can become scarce too in winter. Think of sledges or bags of coal that are readily available in October – they quickly sell out, like fans in summer, when a cold spell hits.

Our team, our lorries, our spreaders are fully prepared for bad weather. We buy salt and brine ready for colder months and vehicles are serviced and maintained in summer, ready for when cold weather hits the UK, and when councils can’t help you. 

 Finally … summing up gritting Leicester

In summary, then (not summery), Weatherwise Services Ltd are on hand to help you in the autumn, winter and spring months. You can contact us any time to arrange a site survey and discuss your gritting requirements. We grit roads, pavements and premise entrances in Leicester and surrounding areas covering hundreds of square miles. 

We offer specialist brine spraying services, full manual gritting and mechanical gritting from our 12 lorries and expert team. We can offer ad-hoc one-off gritting services where you pay as needed or a regular contractual agreement where we grit as needed.

We are very much a customer-focused business who have invested greatly in the business in terms of time and plant and we want you to recommend Weatherwise Services to others of your own volition. 

Our feedback is always excellent for gritting Leicester and elsewhere and the business has grown greatly since its inception in July 2017. We are responsive, reliable and experienced and would welcome any enquiries from you as to how we can help your business run smoothly in cold weather. 

Snow may be relatively rare in the UK, but frost and ice are very common and we will go above and beyond your expectations of how a company should perform a service. 

Many clients have been with us since 2017 and we add new ones frequently – testimony, we hope, to the exceptional gritting services we supply. 

Contact us today – and make sure you connect with us on LinkedIn and Instagram for more gritty updates.