GIANT machines were put on display by Wiltshire Council on Saturday to show they it is ready to keep the county’s roads open no matter weather is thrown at them this winter.

The huge gritters which are tasked with keeping the roads moving even when snow and ice are a problem were put through their paces by their drivers.

Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for highways, said: “Our winter maintenance team is more prepared than ever to keep the roads running smoothly over the next few months .

“After the end of every winter, we service our 24 gritting vehicles, amend and test gritting routes, and develop closer working arrangements with parishes and other agencies.”

The council has more than 11,000 tonnes of salt in stock strategically placed throughout the county in six storage sites.

Mrs Wayman said: “We also have weather stations in key areas which provide real time information and assist in producing accurate forecasts to ensure our gritters are sent out at the right time.

“We have a dedicated team who do an amazing job in very difficult conditions, and we are fully prepared for this coming winter.

“We can, of course, never predict how severe a winter will be, but the wealth of experience we have means we will be in the best position possible should bad weather hit the county.”

On average it can take up to 140 tonnes of salt to grit Wiltshire’s A and B class roads and 230 tonnes to salt an extended list of roads during prolonged cold weather.

During severe weather local farmers also have an important role to play, with many clearing snow in their local areas when required.

Mrs Wayman said: “We also have a scheme where parish and town councils can apply for a one tonne bag of salt to help keep important areas of the highway open within the local community during adverse weather”

She urged parish councils that were not already signed up for the scheme to get in touch to find out more about how it works.

She said: “In addition, salt is supplied to many schools to maintain the car parks and keep their facilities open.”

During winter people can have updates on both the weather and road conditions on Twitter by following @WiltshireWinter and @WiltshireRoads