Ready for winter, preparing for summer, caring for the environment all year round

There are things that schools can do to maintain their grounds over the winter, to minimise work in the spring. We gather some advice from a leading external maintenance provider, Ground Control.

Ian Morehouse, Winter Maintenance Director at Ground Control, discusses how the UK’s largest external maintenance and private winter gritting provider, is ready to keep estates and campuses safe, operational and in pristine condition, whatever the weather.

We may be well and truly into the great British winter season, but for us at Ground Control, we have been preparing for ice, frost, and snow all year round, ensuring that we are there for you when you need us.

We have been serving some of the UK’s top University and education campuses for years, as well as the UK’s leading supermarket chains, parcel and mail operators, retail parks, emergency services, and logistics companies. We make sure that education, business, commerce, and related supply chain partners, exist in harmony with our unpredictable weather and whatever else nature throws at us.

How do we do this and what makes us stand out?

Caring for our environment is at the heart of everything we do, and we are proud to be carbon neutral accredited. Last winter we cut 250,000 miles from our routes last season, saving 160 tonnes of CO2 emissions. We constantly update our gritting routes and will extend this reduction further in 2021/22. We have extended our pilot of HGV hybrid gritting vehicles into this winter and will receive our first fully electric gritter in early winter.

To help conserve natural resources we are seeking ways to reduce our salt consumption without compromising our winter gritting service quality. To achieve this, we invested in our technology this year to indicate the required amount of salt more accurately on a client site and are extending our trial of brine further.

Furthermore, by transitioning to loose salt and focusing on higher capacity equipment, we have reduced our use of plastic that gritting salt is delivered in. That is now less than 2% of our salt, down from 12% two seasons ago: saving over 140,000 plastic bags each year while eliminating the plastic from entering the waste stream.

We have more than 200 field teams involved in winter gritting and significantly more teams for when it snows. In all, around 30 administration staff and more than 1000 operational people deliver our winter maintenance services to more than 10,000 of our customer sites around the country and beyond, extending from Guernsey to the Shetland Isles.

This year is already set to be the busiest year on record, as we welcome new high-profile clients from the education, retail, and facilities sector and welcome back our existing and long-running clients as businesses reopen, and students and employees return to working onsite, in the wake of the pandemic. All our customers need to ensure the safety of their staff and customers in winter and reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls. We aim to apply salt or grit before a frost hits or when there is a risk of ice forming or snow settling.  We do this proactively using the Met Office premium road surface temperature forecast to help predict where and when this is necessary.

We invest in the most innovative, sustainable technology. This includes our innovative winter app that our drivers use on our client’s sites. The app allows our teams to upload photographs showing conditions on-site and now will be able to provide enhanced GPS tracking on complex sites so we can better demonstrate the excellent quality of service provided. We also input information about whether there is a gate code or a lock at the entrance, which is shown in the app, so when our teams arrive late at night, they have the necessary tools to deliver a high-quality service.

We also offer a unique, environmentally friendly, instant drying pothole repair formula that removes 3.8kg of CO2 from the atmosphere for every 25kg we use.

Find out more about our winter maintenance services and for your campus, contact us.

Award-winning grounds maintenance, landscaping, and environmental services.

Our winter season officially runs until April, but all aspects of grounds maintenance, landscaping, and value-added environmental services are available year-round. Our work has been recognised on multiple occasions for innovation and sustainability. Our sites are accessed by in-house ecologists, we use battery-powered tools and electric vehicles, and inspire biodiversity at every opportunity as we work towards NetZero status.

Through our evergreen environmental fund, we dedicate £100,000 a year to native tree planting and 5% of Ground Control’s annual net profits to environmental initiatives and carbon sequestration.

Find out more about our award-winning external maintenance services, contact us.