Cash converter: How councils are using gritters in TM fleet

Vehicle specialist Acklea has urged councils and contractors to save money by adapting gritting vehicles to be used for traffic management in the spring and summer.

The firm said it has already helped several councils do this by attaching crash cushions and light boards to their vehicles, enabling them to be legally used for traffic management safety and blocking duties such as grass verge and street light maintenance.

This reduces the need for councils to buy traffic management vehicles and means gritters do not need to be garaged for several months every year.

Acklea said it has created bespoke solutions partnering with manufacturers such as Econ and Bucher Municipal, with each vehicle assessed for compatibility and the modifications usually taking around two weeks.

Norman Harding, corporate fleet manager at the London Borough of Hackney, said: ‘We have two road gritters that would sit largely idle when not on winter maintenance duties.

‘Acklea’s smart demountable crash cushions, light arrow boards and road safety markings mean we now use them as traffic management blocking vehicles at any other time.

‘The adapted vehicles keep teams safe while they’re working by the roadside and help us save thousands of pounds every year.'

Acklea product manager Clive Brocklehurst said: ‘Every penny helps, and turning seasonal winter vehicles into dual-purpose all-year-round vehicles is a good way to extract value from a council’s transport investment.

‘This way local authorities and contractors aren’t paying for gritters to stand idle when they can easily be adapted to keep working on other aspects of road safety and maintenance.’

He added: ‘This approach also helps to reduce the total number of vehicles on the road, as two separate vehicles are replaced by a single unit with easily-adaptable modifications. This is a highly efficient and effective solution that could make sense for a lot of councils.’

Cold Comfort Scotland, the seventh Annual Winter Maintenance Conference and Exhibition, takes place at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel, Falkirk on 7 April.

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