Leeds Council confirm gritting cancelled overnight - despite sub-zero temperatures

Leeds Council cancelled planned overnight gritting despite temperatures plummeting to nearly freezing, it has been revealed.

Residents awoke to black ice on many roads across the city on Tuesday morning (March 3).

Black ice was reported in areas including Pudsey - where roads around Fulneck were covered according to residents.

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Leeds Council had planned to carry out a 'precautionary grit' at 3am on Tuesday morning, based on data from its weather forecasters, as the road surface temperatures were close to 0C.

Leeds Council gritter

The authority is responsible for salting around 1,864 miles of roads and footpaths and making sure they are safe and passable.

But the council said that during the night staff found that temperatures were warmer than previously predicted.

After consulting the weather forecasting representative, the council then took the decision to cancel the proposed gritting operation, the authority said.

However as the night progressed, Leeds Council said the actual road surface temperatures then fell below anticipated levels after gritting had been cancelled.

The council said on this occasion, going ahead and gritting the roads "would have been the correct course of action".

The decision will be reviewed as part of an annual winter maintenance review, the council confirmed.

A Leeds City Council spokesman told the YEP: “During the winter season road surface temperatures are closely monitored, throughout the night if necessary, against the predicted forecast temperatures supplied by the Council’s meteorological provider.

"Following yesterday lunchtime’s forecast a decision was made to call a precautionary grit at 03:00 on Tuesday morning as the predicted road surface temperatures were close to zero degrees centigrade.

"Through the night the observed road surface temperatures were above those predicted and so, after consultation with the weather forecasting representative, a decision was taken to cancel the proposed gritting operation. As the night progressed the actual observed road surface temperatures then started to fall from the anticipated levels.

"Despite the investment in advance forecasting and temperature monitoring, the weather can still be unpredictable and, although a rare event, on this occasion a continuation of the original decision to grit would have been the correct course of action.

"We continually review the decision making process following variations in the predicted weather forecast, as part of an ongoing commitment to improve the reliability of the winter maintenance operation."

Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, is a thin coating of glaze ice on a surface, especially on roads.

The ice itself is not black, but visually transparent, allowing the often black road below to be seen through it.

At low temperatures, black ice can form on roadways when the moisture from vehicle exhausts condenses on the road surface.