A new fleet of gritters and smarter ways of working has meant Cambridgeshire County Council has been able to save more than £200,000 this year and be ready for winter.

The County Council has made new lease arrangements and brought in new stock control methods for the rock salt it uses on the road.

This, combined with reduced maintenance costs and more accurate weather predictions has meant this winter the service can still grit the same routes as well as make £200,000 savings.

The new stock controls also mean that the County should have plenty of rock salt for the whole of the winter season.

Brine is also mixed with the rock salt so less is needed and it is more environmentally friendly as well as sticking to the road better.

These changes are part of the plans agreed earlier in the year to help meet Cambridgeshire's saving targets. Cambridgeshire has had to meet £218 million in savings since 2009 while pressure and demand on services has gone up.

The 37 strong gritter fleet and quad bikes went out on a trial run this week to check for problems before the winter weather hit.

Salt domes and barns have already been filled with 12,500 tonnes of rock salt ready for icy weather.

Last year crews went out 65 times and many of them are up through the night or early hours of the morning to make sure roads are treated.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Roger Hickford, Chairman of Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, said: "These new gritters will not only help keep Cambridgeshire roads safe but with the smarter way of working drive down costs. The business plan this year called for more than £200,000 of savings from winter maintenance and I am glad this season we are able to achieve this without reducing the routes we are treating."

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