Salting, gritting and snow clearance | Oxfordshire County Council

Salting, gritting and snow clearance

How we keep roads clear of ice and snow in winter.

We usually salt between 28 October and 31 March.

We are committed to keeping a network of major roads free from ice to minimise the risk of accidents and ensure the smooth flow of traffic. Precautionary salting (sometimes called 'gritting') helps achieve this aim.

Salting/gritting updates

Comments / update

Clear spells through the first half of the night but cloud will start to thicken. Mostly cloudy through the second part of the night but it should remain dry. Brisk south-easterly winds developing.

The information was updated: 5th April 2018  12:00pm

Salting zone Road surface temps below 0°C Action Commencing time am/pm
North zone (Cotswolds) No

No Action

Central zone (Central Oxfordshire)


No Action

South zone (Chilterns and North Wessex Downs) No

No Action

Last salting undertaken on 28th March 2018 Yes Full pre-salt 9pm

The above data is updated daily between 28 October and 31 March with our salting decisions but may be extended if weather conditions require it.

Where we salt / salting zones


The following map shows all the roads that will receive attention. Click "Other layers" and then "Gritting routes" to see the full network.

Map showing salting zonesWe anticipate that each salting route will take approximately three hours to complete. All routes will be undertaken simultaneously.

We aim to have all work completed before ice would form on road surfaces.

It would be unrealistic and uneconomic to salt all roads, although we do manage to treat 43 per cent of the county council's road network which is above the national average and comparable to neighbouring authorities. Certain county roads have been identified as important routes because they:

  • carry large volumes of traffic
  • provide access to key strategic facilities
  • are known problem sites
  • provide access to hospitals and fire stations
  • are main bus routes.

When we salt

We decide when to carry out precautionary salting using:

  • regular weather forecasts specifically for road conditions on Oxfordshire's roads
  • a computerised ice prediction system which compares forecast conditions against actual road temperatures measured at five weather stations around the county
  • a through-the-night watch on conditions
  • the local knowledge of staff to judge when to best carry out precautionary salting.

Even if freezing temperatures are predicted, there may be no need for precautionary salting if:

  • there is enough salt left on the road from the previous salting
  • no rain has fallen and roads are dry, as ice will not form.


Although we make great efforts to keep roads clear in winter, drivers must never assume that a road will be free from ice. This is because:

  • in certain circumstances we may treat priority routes only
  • salt can have a limited effect in severe cold conditions
  • high winds or rain can remove salt from road surfaces before temperatures fall
  • many minor roads do not get salted.

Remember: speed kills, especially in icy conditions. Kill your speed to make your driving safer.

Salt or grit bins

Footways only get limited attention because clearing them is very labour intensive. Only major shopping areas are likely to be treated with salt/grit in the early stages following snowfall. See our page on salt and grit bins for information on how to request one in your area.

Snow clearance

Snow can take much longer to clear than ice. Heavier applications of salt are needed when snow settles on roads more than one inch deep. As with salting, roads will be treated in order of importance, starting with priority routes.

Clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself

Advice on clearing snow and ice safely can be found on the website

Alternatively you can view our Oxfordshire Snow Guide (pdf format, 428KB)

Travelling to school

In the event of adverse weather conditions we rely on school transport operators to judge whether they will be able to safely transport children to and from school. If you have queries on whether school transport is running we suggest you contact the operator directly.

You can check our school closures page to find out whether your school is open.

Further information

Please Contact the Highway Enquiries Team

You can also report snow and ice online using our online reporting tool.

Report snow and ice online

Enter a postcode, or street name/area:
Last reviewed
31 October 2017

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