SS Great Gritter, Rocky and Crystal report for winter gritting duty

South Gloucestershire road gritting vehicles

South Gloucestershire’s new fleet of eleven winter gritting vehicles was officially launched last week – with a little help from the district’s primary school pupils.

Dozens of youngsters from Reception class to Year 3 had entered the council’s ‘name your gritter’ competition as part of a campaign to highlight the importance of winter road safety and the vital role of the winter gritting fleet.

The winning entries were announced at a special ceremony at Cherry Garden Primary School, Bitton by council Chair Mike Drew and Executive Member for Communities James Hunt.

Winning names included ‘SS Great Gritter’, chosen by children at Oldbury-on-Severn CEVC Primary School and ‘Rocky’, which was suggested by children at The Manor Church of England Primary School in Coalpit Heath.

Children at Cherry Garden School were singled out for special praise after two of their entries – Comet and Crystal — were selected by the judges.

Councillor Hunt said:

“Well done to all the children who took part in this competition. We had some really imaginative entries and it has been a great way to get young people thinking about the important work of our gritting fleet during the winter months.”

Cherry Garden Primary School headteacher Phil Winterburn said:

“Our Year 3 children thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the competition, with the help of our deputy head Shirley Allingham. Shirley is retiring this Christmas so seeing two Year 3 winning entries to the competition is a lovely way to celebrate the end of her teaching career.”

The eleven new vehicles replace the council’s ageing gritting fleet and will now be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the winter months, helping to keep schools open, businesses running and emergency services on the road.

South Gloucestershire has one of the highest-performing gritting services in the region and recently won an Association of Public Service Excellence award in recognition of its efficient operation.

The gritters treat approximately 14,000 miles of South Gloucestershire’s roads each year and the new vehicles use state-of-the-art technology to ensure fast and effective gritting coupled with lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions and more effective use of road salt.

More than 6,000 tonnes of salt are currently held in storage for this winter and the winter maintenance team uses a sophisticated forecasting system to anticipate weather conditions and plan salt runs.

Winning entries by school and operating area:

  • Severn Beach/Aust: ‘SS Greater Gritter’, chosen by Oldbury-on-Severn CEVC Primary School
  • Thornbury: ‘Xenia’, chosen by Manorbrook Primary, Thornbury
  • Tortworth: ‘Shuvool’, chosen Tortworth VC Primary School, Tortworth
  • Bradley Stoke: ‘Snowball’, chosen by Baileys Court School, Bradley Stoke
  • Ring Road/Wick: ‘Salty Sam’, chosen by St. Andrews CEVC Primary School, Cromhall
  • Coalpit Heath: ‘Rocky’, chosen by The Manor CE Primary, Coalpit Heath
  • Yate: ‘Gertrude’, chosen by St. Paul’s RCVA, Yate
  • Hawkesbury: ‘Gritster’, chosen by Hawkesbury CEVC Primary School, Hawkesbury
  • Bitton: ‘Comet’, chosen by Cherry Garden Primary School Bitton
  • Kingswood South: ‘Crystal’, chosen by Cherry Garden Primary School Bitton
  • Kingswood/Hanham: ‘Snowy’, chosen by Olveston Church of England Primary School

Photo: South Gloucestershire Council Chair Mike Drew, Councillor James Hunt and staff and pupils from Cherry Garden Primary School in Bitton.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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