Gritting roads

Last updated 21 May 2015

Waltham Forest Council has a Winter Service Plan in place to deal with severe weather and will continue to run a consistent service and help to keep the borough moving during this period. This plan is reviewed annually.

View the 2014/2015 Winter Service Plan (1MB PDF file).

The scope of winter service operations can be described as:

  • Precautionary gritting of roads in anticipation of freezing conditions to prevent the formation of ice
  • Continuous gritting of the road network in adverse conditions to enable continued safe usage
  • Removal of snow and gritting of footpaths

This year's plan

  • We have updated our Winter Service Plan to show pre-gritting and gritting routes
  • We have replaced one of our gritters
  • We have grit bins across the borough, now totalling over 150
  • We have a lot more grit in storage than last year


All councils have a legal responsibility to maintain clear and safe passage along the highway, including the clearance of snow and ice. Priority routes for gritting include:

  • Major roads
  • All major traffic and bus routes
  • Access to fire stations, police stations, hospitals and ambulance stations
  • All steep hills
  • High pedestrian use footways
  • Shopping areas, bus stations, railway stations and other high pedestrian use footways

We use rock salt to pre-grit/grit roads because it lowers the freezing point of water and prevents refreezing.

Gritting teams remain on standby during the winter months and will take appropriate action based on the latest weather forecasts. We may pre-grit/grit late at night and/or early in the morning as necessary.

Street cleaners will be temporarily deployed to clear snow or help with gritting process when required.

We're not able to grit all roads in Waltham Forest and as a result have prioritised key routes such as major roads, transport hubs, emergency services access ect.

Maps of gritting routes

Please note: The A406 and A12 are attended to by Transport for London.

Request gritting

Make a gritting or grit bin request via our online form

If you are unable to complete our online form please email, call 020 8496 3000, or visit a Library Plus branch for advice on how to complete the form.

Grit bins

The Council provides grit bins at strategic locations throughout the borough. We cannot place them everywhere but do try to put them where they are most needed, such as hills. Although we check the grit bins regularly, during cold spells they will need refilling at times. If you notice a grit bin needs refilling please call Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000. A map of grit bin sites can be found below.

View details of Grit bin locations (1MB PDF file).

Refuse and recycling collections during severe weather

During severe weather refuse and recycling collections may be disrupted as vehicles are not able to get around the borough. If safe to do so, please leave your refuse and recycling out and they will be collected as soon as possible. Please bear with us during this period, we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Street cleansing will also stop during periods of bad weather and street sweepers will be used to clear snow and help grit.

Advice for residents

Grit is not available from the Council but you can buy it from DIY shops or builders merchants. Residents can also use grit from grit bins but only for use on roads and pavements.

If a grit box is empty you can request it to be refilled by:

Advice for businesses

Some businesses need to keep trading during winter weather periods. The continuation of their business depends on robust plans that ensure staff, premises and resources are correctly managed.

Proper business continuity planning will give them a competitive advantage over their business rivals.

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