Weather Icon 7.2°C Partly Cloudy
Salty McSaltface? Oldham Council want borough’s kids to name new gritters!
Tuesday 17th October 2017 @ 11:12 by Tom Greggan
News Oldham Town

It’s the end of an era in Oldham…

After years of service keeping roads free of ice and snow, gritters Freddie Salted, Grittersaurus, Goliath, Walter the Salter, Gritterbug, Gritney Spears, Gritanator and Thor have retired to the big depot in the sky.

In the course of their duties it is estimated the incredible eight clocked up more than 1.2 million miles – more than five times the distance from the earth to the moon- keeping the area’s roads, including some of the highest in the region, clear during the winter months.

In that time they have put down more than 20,000 tonnes of salt- around the same weight as 5,000 Asian elephants.

The newest member of the fleet, Nicole Saltslinger- a favourite with residents and the ‘gritterarati’- keeps her place on the road. She still has the X Factor and when the cold weather starts she’ll be out and about helping to keep the borough moving.

So Nicole doesn’t feel all alone this year, she’ll be joined by seven new gritters that the council are hiring. Now, they are asking the region’s young people to ‘prove their salt’ and come up with a name for each new addition to the team.

Children who live or go to school in Oldham have until October 22nd to submit their entry to name on of the Council’s new gritters. Can you beat ‘Nicole Saltslinger’?

All you have to do is visit and then give us your suggestions along with your details. You can send in one name or as many as you want so hopefully they’ll receive an avalanche of entries. Once the winning entries have been chosen, the gritter will then be branded with its new name on the front of the cab. The winners will also be invited along to be photographed with the machine they have named. Residents will then be able to look out for the vehicles as they travel around the borough spreading grit and salt.

The competition is open to all school age children aged 16 and under, who either live in Oldham or attend a school in the borough. You can enter now and the closing date for entries is noon on Sunday, October 22.

Cllr Fida Hussain, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Over the years our fleet of gritters have provided a great service to the people of Oldham.

“But due to wear and tear the time has come to replace them so they, and their drivers, can continue to play a vital role in helping to keep the borough moving during cold spells.

“Every time we’ve run a similar competition it has been well received by members of the public. Last year from a single tweet more than 70,000 people engaged with us in one way or another and some of the suggestions we had were fantastic. We even took the silly suggestions with a pinch of salt.

“Although this has all been a bit of fun it also helped teach our young people about road safety and how we keep our roads safe in cold weather.”

As far as reasonably possible, the council will keep the primary highway network free of ice and snow at all times in order to help ensure a safe journey for commuters and residents. Resources are initially directed to gritting seven priority routes, including the trans-Pennine roads and most of the principal, classified and major bus routes.

To keep residents fully informed of any developments the Oldham Council website – – will be updated continually and feature the latest news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins and grit sales. The council’s First Response service will use its Twitter account @oldhamalert to inform followers of school and road closures or incidents. These will also be retweeted for residents using the Council’s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via the local media.