Residents offered free grit to use if cold snap arrives

Published: Tuesday 13th November 18

Wandsworth residents are once again being offered free bags of grit and rock salt as part of the town hall’s annual winter initiative to tackle snow and ice.

Although Londoners have enjoyed a prolonged spell of mild weather in recent weeks, temperatures will undoubtedly fall over the winter months and so the council is once more offering borough residents sacks containing up to 50 kilos of grit free-of-charge to help them clear frozen footpaths.

Last year around 20 tonnes of grit was given to residents, community groups and neighbourhood watch co-ordinators.  

Gritting of roads and pavements is a huge task

When temperatures plummet and roads and footpaths are covered in snow and ice the council’s fleet of gritting vehicles and dozens of staff are dispatched to clear it away, but with nearly 230 miles of road surface and 450 miles of pavements it is a mammoth task that always takes time to complete.

For an idea of how far much road surface there is in Wandsworth, if all the borough’s roads were laid out end to end they would stretch from the town hall to just beyond Plymouth.

And to make the gritting operation work effectively it needs repeated treatments – especially if temperatures drop further or there is another flurry of snow. 

When there is a cold and icy snap local people often contact the town hall to volunteer to clear paths in their neighbourhoods, which is why free grit is being offered to residents.

Residents also have much better knowledge of their neighbourhoods and are better placed to clear ice from the front garden paths of vulnerable or elderly people living close by.”

Residents who want to take advantage of the offer should visit the council depot in Dormay Street between 9am and midday on Saturday, November 17 and Saturday, November 24.

They will need to bring some proof of address to show they live in the borough. The depot’s postcode is SW18 1EY for people using sat-navs.

The council is also supplying sacks of grit to Wandsworth’s 200 neighbourhood watch co-ordinators and filling up grit bins across the borough so that local people have an immediate stock close at hand.

There are 55 of these bins located around the borough, situated mainly in hilly areas where icy pavements can be particularly treacherous. 

When snow has fallen, the priority is to keep the borough’s main roads clear of ice so that the emergency services and public transport can keep running. Particular attention is always paid to entrances at tube and rail stations, hospitals, day centres, schools, care homes, clinics and nurseries.

The gritting of borough red routes and their adjoining pavements is managed by Transport for London - these include the A3, A24, A205, A214, A306, A3205 and A3220.

To find the location of your nearest salt bin visit For more information about the free grit offer call (020) 8871 6750.

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Recent comments

A welcome offer but once the new low emission zone takes effect in 2021 it will not be possible for residents who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles to Euro 6 or pay the £12.50 (?) charge to make this collection. This proposal, cutting the borough in segments with different access will cause huge problems and congestion.
Neil Jordan

30 November 2018

I live a lot of the time for many years in Switzerland ..I am an expert on snow clearing . push snow away as soon as possible with specail spade failing that an upside beoom will do DO NOT TRY SHOVELING.... after you have cleared a path . sprinkle salt sparingly.... DO NOT TRY JUST THOUGHING SALT ON SNOW . it is really bad using too much salt . Remember after the snow has been compressed by walking on it turns to ice ...and if it re-freezes it is very difficult to clear . Soft fluffy newly fallen snow is easily swept away
Ian Dabbs

23 November 2018

Are these the only two dates when the grit and salt can be collected or will there be other dates?

20 November 2018

Jane, we have a grit bin behind my block of flats. I try to do my bit on behalf of all the people who can't. Anne, I agree. The council need to sweep more regularly in general. We get a lot of litter on the pavements and especially on paths and footbridges. The pavements were swept two days ago, but already they are covered with litter! (I'm sure the council could raise a lot of money if they issued more fines for littering.)

16 November 2018

The yellow grit bin provided by the council is very useful indeed! It contains far more grit than we could ever need, as well as a very handy scoop that works a treat as a snow shovel! When the snow falls, please try and shovel it to one side on paths and pavements. If everyone did their bit on the pavements near their home, we wouldn't have the endless slip-slip-slip charade whenever we try to go out. For an elderly resident, it could allow him/her to venture down the street and admire the snow, instead of staring at the walls and the empty fridge indoors for a week. A sprinkling of grit at a road junction will spread far and wide under the wheels of cars, but don't forget the ice where people's driveways meet the road.

16 November 2018

What happens to those of us who do not have cars and live in basements with dodgy steps?
Jane Heany

16 November 2018

I'd also be happy if the leaves could be removed - or more to the point - stop planting trees in our roads and streets - which apart from the leaves - the roots make our pavements unsafe to walk on. Yesterday when we had the rain storms - our roads were quickly flooded by leaves covering drains and cars parked on the drains.

14 November 2018