Gritters are on standby and ready to spring into action when freezing weather approaches.

Hertfordshire County Council says its highways team and fleet of 58 gritters are ready to work around the clock to keep roads open and communities connected.

Council gritter crews cover nearly half of Hertfordshire's entire road network – more than 1,500 miles – with National Highways ensuring motorways are kept clear.

The council sends out its gritters when road surface temperatures are forecast to be 0.5°c or below, and a hazard is expected.

Roads to schools, care homes, doctor’s surgeries, key pharmacies and libraries, A and B roads, bus routes, roads with a 10 per cent gradient or steeper and at least one route into every village are prioritised.

Councillor Phil Bibby, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "October is the beginning of our winter season, and we make sure our gritters are ready, our salt stocks in the depots are high and that the county’s 1,000-plus salt bins are topped up before freezing weather arrives.

"Our crews will be on standby 24 hours a day until April, ready to deal with whatever the weather throws at us."

Community groups and residents associations can access free gritting salt at by October 31.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Credit: National HighwaysCredit: National Highways

Meanwhile National Highways – formerly Highways England – has announced 28 new gritting vehicles to cover motorways the eastern region of England, like the M25 and M1 in Hertfordshire.

This brings the total number of gritters in the region to 62.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Inside a National Highways gritting vehicleInside a National Highways gritting vehicle

National Highways acting executive director of operations, Duncan Smith, said: "The new vehicles include state of the art technology allowing us to treat the roads up to a maximum of 50mph, 10mph faster than earlier models. 

"When the wintry weather arrives our winter teams across the country will be ready to work around the clock to keep traffic moving."