Archive for Gritting
www.telegraph.co.uk 19th February 2011
The winter of 2010/2011 was the coldest in record in the UK. The heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures meant councils throughout the country needed to spread large amounts of salt on the roads to keep them navigable. However, common rock-salt, the most used substance in road gritting has an unintended side-effect: it is incredibly harmful to trees. “The gritting salt leeches into the soil around the tree and draws moisture out of the roots leading to signs similar to drought. It can eventually kill the tree,” said Emma Hill, Policy Director at Trees for Cities. The true extent of the damage, she continued, will only be visible come Spring. The effect will be highest in cities, where roads were gritted more regularly. Already Southwark Council in south London have expressed concerns that hundreds of the borough’s trees have died due to excess gritting. Despite the obvious environmental concerns, the side-effect of gritting is also expensive. It costs around £250 to take down a dead tree and as much as £400 to plant a new one. Total cost of damage may run into the tens, even the hundreds, of thousands. Councils have now said that they are exploring alternative methods of de-icing roads for next winter.