Agency launches new gritting fleet

The Highways Agency has unveiled a new fleet of 'gritters' to combat ice and snow on England's motorways and major roads.

More than 400 new orange-coloured vehicles will be rolled out between now and 2010 to replace the existing yellow gritters.

Of the 438 new vehicles, 159 will go into operation this winter, with the rest coming into service in the next two years.

The fleet will make use of pre-wet salt, which works faster on the road surface to prevent ice formation and is more friendly to vehicles and the environment.

The east of England, the East Midlands, north west England and Hampshire will be the first areas to get the new-style vehicles.

Derek Turner, network operations director for the Highways Agency, said: "Our new winter fleet gives us the capability to treat the roads more efficiently and effectively when ice and snow are forecast, while reducing the impact of our operations on the environment.

"The new vehicles have cleaner engines and will use less salt through the new pre-wet process."

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