Gritting

Our gritting crews are on standby, around the clock, up to the end of March. They're ready to treat the 321 miles of roads on our main gritting routes. 

You can check the routes and location of grit bins on our map.

Winter maintenance

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Where we grit

We have a winter plan that sets out our responsibilities for gritting and snow clearing. 

Primary routes in the borough are gritted first. These include A and B roads, those linking towns and villages, and bus routes. Primary gritting routes and the location of grit bins are identified on the map below.

Once all primary routes have been gritted, in really bad weather, we'll move on to secondary routes. These include main roads in housing estates and other important urban and rural routes. In extreme weather, we'll carry out additional gritting. We'll also grit footpaths in some areas, like the town centre, shopping precincts, and outside hospitals, schools and GP surgeries.

Grit bins

We provide 450 grit bins across the borough. We fill them once in mid-November. Used correctly, this should be enough grit to last the entire winter period, so we won't refill them.

The grit bins are located in places that we don't grit; we don't provide them on request.

We're not responsible for gritting areas we don't own, or for filling private grit bins, for example those outside bus/train stations and supermarkets, or those owned by Berneslai Homes. This is the responsibility of the owner.

Grit bins on new estates, where we’ve not adopted the road, are the responsibility of the housing developer.

How to use the grit

The grit we provide should be used to treat the pavements and roads in your area that we don’t grit. You shouldn’t use it on your own property.

When using the grit, you only need one tablespoon of grit to cover 1 sq metre of ground.  Try to spread grit before snow falls as it needs to be activated by pedestrians walking on it or traffic driving over it for it to work properly.

Be a good neighbour scheme - make sure people can get out in bad weather

Our good neighbour scheme helps us to make sure people can still get out and about during severe weather.

We recruit residents to help clear snow from pavements, streets and minor roads in areas that we don't usually grit. Volunteers for the scheme work with their neighbours to clear snow and spread grit on the pavements, streets and minor roads in their area.

To join the scheme, you should be fit and healthy as the work can be physically demanding. You'll need to wear a high visibility 'community snow clearing volunteer' tabard (we'll provide), appropriate footwear and warm clothing.

To become a good neighbour for snow clearing, download, complete and return our application form. It includes confirmation that you're fit to take part in the scheme. You should also read our induction information and volunteers information

Once we've approved your application, we'll assess the needs of your area and provide the necessary equipment and a supply of grit to the site.

Plan your winter journey

If you're planning a journey in South Yorkshire this winter, you can rely on #SYgrit to keep you updated. The #SYgrit hashtag joins together gritting alerts and winter maintenance information from Barnsley, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster councils.

Our Facebook and Twitter posts will give you the latest updates for Barnsley. You can find the combined information for South Yorkshire by searching on Twitter for #SYgrit.

If you're driving, make sure you've checked that your vehicle's ready for winter and drive with care. You can get the latest weather reports from the Met Office or sign up for Met Office Twitter alerts.

The Met Office has also produced some helpful guides as part of their Get Ready for Winter campaign

Frequently asked questions

How does the council's winter service start?

We rely on weather reports from the Met Desk and surface temperature information from ice-alert stations at Penistone, Dodworth, Great Houghton, Hoyland and Victoria to predict when we'll need to grit.

How does the council prepare for adverse weather?

In preparation for cold weather, we have:

  • increased the number of grit bins to 450
  • 9 gritting lorries
  • 2 small-bodied gritters to get into estates
  • new systems of resilience management, bringing all front-line service into play

What are the council's road priorities for treatment?

The priority is to keep the road network flowing. Our first job is to clear main roads. Once these are flowing, we move on to secondary routes like bus routes, other key link roads and roads in estates. We grit during the week, but if conditions are bad, we'll also grit at weekends.

We grit 331 miles of primary and secondary routes out of a total network length of 706 mile. This is approximately 46% of the possible gritting length. If we grit secondary routs, this adds a further 145 miles. We don't routinely treat every street; we don't have enough resources to do this. 

Once we've gritted priority roads, we deal with the thousands of requests that come into the service.

What are the council's pavement priorities for gritting?

When conditions are so bad that key locations across the borough are affected by snow and ice, we'll activate our snow plan.

It sets out priority areas for treatment, including the town centre, local shopping areas, sheltered complexes and housing estates for older people, and outside schools, hospitals and GP surgeries. We also deploy tractors to clear public car parks. Once these routes have been cleared, our teams move on to other locations.

The snow plan includes fixed routes that target areas with the greatest pedestrian flows. These routes are cleared through the week, or at weekends if the weather is severe.

There are about 1,120 miles of pavement, including the town centre, 66 public buildings, and over 300 other named locations in the plan that we deal with first, before we move onto other requests. Only when both of these priorities are done, do we deal with the thousands of requests for service we receive.

What about grit bins?

We provide 450 grit bins across the borough in locations that we don't grit. The grit in these bins is not for gritting private driveways.

Any new request for a grit bin will be assessed and prioritised. Community purchased grit bins, typically off the highway, are only refilled if grit salt is ordered and paid for through the council.

If weather conditions are severe, we mix grit salt with a dry grit-sand to provide traction under foot. This helps to preserve grit salt stocks if the season is likely to be a bad one.

We're not responsible for gritting areas we don’t own, or for filling private grit bins, for example those outside bus/train stations and supermarkets, or those owned by Berneslai Homes. This is the responsibility of the owner.

How can I make a request for gritting?

Call our customer services on (01226) 773555.

We also receive special requests, such as for funerals and weddings. If we get sufficient notice, we'll try to assist, if resources permit. We do give higher priority to calls from the emergency services and public transport (bus) operators.

What will the council not deal with routinely?

We don't:

  • grit private streets or unadopted roads - these are the responsibility of the residents
  • provide resources for schools, although we do work closely with them to make sure plans are in place, either through the council or other authorised contracts
  • provide resources for private businesses
  • provide grit salt to organisations outside local authority control and where worsening conditions mean that all our grit stock is needed for treating our priority roads

What services can the council offer?

We can sometimes offer road and pavement gritting, and snow clearing, if customers want to buy them from our engineering services (01226) 774122. We have to plan these services well in advance of the winter season. We may not be able to accommodate late requests in busy periods as our teams and supplies of grit will be focused on council priority areas.