Scottish Borders Council is readying itself for the winter with a move to fitting Michelin’s specialist XDW Ice Grip tyres across its fleet of gritters – after trial sets proved their worth during the Beast from the East.
During the challenging conditions earlier this year, drivers found Michelin’s full-on winter fitments – typically the preserve of fleets operating in the Nordic markets and parts of mainland Europe which see extreme winter conditions – offered a significant increase in grip compared to those fitted with standard tyres.
Scottish Borders Council will fit the tyres across its 32-strong fleet, replacing existing fitments as wear dictates. Together, its fleet is responsible for managing a road network stretching 3,000km – the equivalent of travelling from the Borders to Moscow.
John Martin, Fleet Manager at Scottish Borders Council said: “Our drivers said the increased grip these tyres offered made them feel a lot safer in the most challenging of conditions.
“We want to operate safe vehicles that are responsive in the worst possible weather and we know these full-on winter tyres give our drivers the reassurance they need to do their jobs in the coldest conditions.
“The tyres should also reassure the public driving our roads during winter that we are providing a safe service.”
The Michelin XDW Ice Grip tyres are Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) rated, with a special rubber compound that is extremely resistant to wear in very low temperatures. They deliver an assurance of excellent grip and traction on ice and snow-covered roads thanks to a special shoulder design and deep tread featuring more than 2,000 three-dimensional sipes.
Chris Smith, Michelin’s B2B Sales Director added: “Scottish Borders Council told us they wanted their fleet to be as resilient to extreme weather events as possible, so we arranged to supply them with our very best snow and ice tyres.
“Despite these being specialist tyres, they can still be regrooved and retreaded through the Michelin Remix programme – meaning the Council can extract the maximum mileage performance from each fitment, for a low total cost of ownership.”
Headquartered in Newtown St Boswells, Scottish Borders Council concentrates its resources on gritting, salting and snow clearance on key main roads, major bus routes and roads to hospitals, ambulance depots and fire stations. It then treats other main and residential access roads before treating the remaining road network.
Each gritter in its fleet covers approximately 60 miles per trip, which can take up to two and a half hours. During low temperatures, its fleet is available to operate around the clock, following up to the minute weather reports to ensure resources are deployed where they are needed most.