On the 1st November 2013 legislation changed which now permits Agricultural Vehicles to spread salt on the public highway using red diesel, when previously they could snowplough only.
Two councils who are pleased to see the change in this legislation are North Yorkshire County Council and Bradford Metropolitan District Council who recognised the usefulness of Tractors and Agricultural Vehicles as winter maintenance tools a number of years ago.
North Yorkshire County Council provides tractor mounted salt spreaders and snowploughs for fitment to agricultural contractor's and farmer's own tractors to help provide extra resilience to the frontline gritting service. Richard Marr - Highways Area Manager at North Yorkshire County Council;- "Utilising Agricultural Contractors and Farmers is a very cost effective method of increasing resilience without large investment in capital equipment. We have found this method of service delivery very successful and effective."
Bradford Metropolitan District Council utilise two large mowing tractors to provide frontline service as an alternative to HGV gritters. Dave Mazurke - Group Manager Highways at Bradford Metropolitan District Council;- "The tractors we use are from our Parks and landscapes section, equipping them with winter maintenance equipment has saved a considerable amount of money. The spreaders have a 7 ton capacity - they are fully road speed related with GPS, and perform equally as well as the truck systems we also use."
The equipment used by North Yorkshire and Bradford Metropolitan District Council is supplied by Vale Engineering York Limited. James Wilson MD at Vale "Using tractors either to increase resilience or to provide frontline gritting services makes sense, there are over 500,000 tractors in the UK with many of them stood down over the winter period. The red diesel barrier has always stood in the way of making best use of the ideal resource - be it council grounds maintenance tractors or agricultural contractors and farmers. We are already seeing an increase in enquiries and orders as councils who are facing budget cuts are looking for lower cost alternatives to traditional methods of delivery. For instance a 7 ton capacity trailed gritter costs approximately £18,000 + VAT, and should cost less than £700 + VAT to service per annum. When compared against + £80,000 for an HGV type system of a similar capacity with a very costly maintenance regime."
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