Ground Control, a private provider of winter maintenance services, is ready for the start of a record winter season, aiming to be greener and more sustainable than ever before.
Continued growth will see the Billericay-based company service 11,000 sites this winter – up from 9,200 last year – with a client list that includes five of the biggest supermarkets, water utilities, emergency services and the UK’s largest mail delivery network.
With Ground Control reaching carbon neutrality earlier this year, and a goal to becoming carbon zero within five years, it is introducing a number of industry-leading technologies and strategies to minimise the environmental impact of its winter division.
Over the coming months it will:
- Expand the use of liquid brine. Compared to a typical gritting application, the pre-activated solution melts snow and ice quicker and reduces the potential harm done to adjacent vegetation and the road surface during the spreading process. Where brine was used last year this resulted in a 24% fall in the amount of salt deployed.
- Use 140,000 fewer salt bags this year compared to two years ago. Not only are the (empty) bags made from plastic, the residual left inside means they are a waste that needs to be stored and disposed of separately.
- Receive its first all-electric vehicle gritting vehicle. The vehicle and spreader has a 750kg capacity, will be able to cover 30,000 m2 in one run and will initially be used in the north-west of England.
- Substantially reduce the distance travelled by its vehicle fleet. Route optimisation analysis will see its field teams travel fewer 250,000 miles this year, saving 160 tonnes of carbon. Teams will also benefit from software that tells them what the spread rate should be on each site.
“These advancements are the result of planning and in-depth research we’ve conducted in the off season,” said Ian Morehouse, winter maintenance director at Ground Control. “They are the latest in a series of industry-leading, green technologies we’ll looking at in our on-going effort to transition towards making winter services – and gritting in particular – carbon neutral.
“With winter looming on the horizon, we’ll be servicing even more clients this year over the next five months. We hold 54,000 tons of salt at the point of use our teams can use up to 1,700 tons on a typical winter’s night. We have a further 5,000 tons ready in the event of short term needs if transport runs short.
“And while other sectors continue to struggle to recruit HGV drivers, our numbers are robust. This season we’ll be deploying 210 gritting delivery teams to over 11,000 customer locations across the country.”