Grit bin

You only need a handful of salt from a grit bin to deal with most hazards

Lancashire County Council is urging people not to use more salt and sand from roadside grit bins than they need to this winter.

Every year the council's highways team finds that some grit bins have been completely emptied after the first freezing nights of the winter, even though they were all filled up in October.

It takes 725 tonnes of salt and sand to fill every grit bin in Lancashire, and costs around £40,000.

A handful of grit should be enough to cover around a square metre of ground, so most hazards should take no more than a few of handfuls to make safe.

County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We've got nearly 3,000 grit bins and salt piles in Lancashire to help keep our roads safe during the winter, but every year we find a number of them get emptied very quickly once the freezing weather arrives, which means some people are using more than they need to.

"Our grit bins are in places which are not on a gritting route and where there is a particular hazard such as a steep gradient where some extra grip may be needed.

"You only need to use about a cup full per square metre, so a shovel full will go a long way. Using a trowel to sprinkle the grit is a good way to ensure you're using about the right amount.  In most places a few handfuls worth of grit should be plenty to make the hazard safe."

Grit bins are filled with a mixture of salt and sand, which helps to thaw any ice and provide extra grip.

The salt and sand is only for use on the road and pavement to deal with the hazard near the bin, and not for personal use such as gritting your own driveway.

County Councillor Swarbrick added: "When a grit bin does become empty our highways teams will always refill it as quickly as they can, but this might take some time during severe weather when our teams are very busy.

"If one person has used more grit than they need to during the first freezing spell of winter, someone else often comes along later when we get some really severe weather and finds there's not enough left when it's really needed.

"Apart from the cost, the problem is that our teams will already be very busy keeping the main routes running, and it could be some time before they're able to prioritise refilling the bins.

"Please let us know about any that are empty via the Love Clean Streets app, or by reporting it on our website or to our customer service centre on 0300 123 6780."

You can find out more about gritting in Lancashire, including which roads are gritted, and what you can do to prepare at You can also get the latest gritting updates and winter weather advice by searching #LancsWinter on X.