Three contractors that have been awarded framework agreements to keep London’s roads ice and snow free have turned to Yorkshire-based Econ Engineering to supply them with their gritters.
And for the next seven years, 33 Econ vehicles, will be located at different points within the capital city, ready to mobilise as soon as temperatures plummet.
Two years ago, Transport for London (TfL) tendered three new area contracts, Central, North and South, for their Highways Framework. This replaced the previous seven-year agreement which covered four areas, South, Central, North-East and North-West.
In October 2020, TfL awarded the Central contract to Ringway; the North contract to a Tarmac and Kier Joint Venture, with FM Conway awarded the South contract. The combined value of all three contracts is estimated to be worth £1.4bn.
Over the last 12 months, the Econ team entered negotiations with all three contracting companies, to determine how it could help support their requirements for winter maintenance vehicles.
Econ Engineering – which has its main manufacturing base in Ripon, North Yorkshire and has recently opened two engineering hubs in Alloa, Scotland, and the Welsh capital of Cardiff – produces 85 per cent of winter maintenance vehicles seen on the UK’s roads.
Ringway has purchased 11 brand-new gritters, with all of the vehicles signed up on an eight-year repair and maintenance contract – giving the customer peace of mind during the winter with Econ’s premium service cover.
The Tarmac/Kier JV has hired 13 gritters through Econ’s own Contract Hire Fleet Services. All of these gritters will be run on HVO (hydrogen and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuel from day one to reduce their carbon footprint. HVO fuel is made from renewable and sustainable raw materials, it can be used in any diesel engine and is 90 per cent cleaner than using pure red or white diesel.
FM Conway has hired nine gritters. Following a successful trial of AWT’s Tracking and Navigation system, it was also decided to have the vehicles fitted with this market leading equipment. The FM Conway team completed designing the new routes using the Map A Route (MAR) system showing them the route length, route efficiency and anticipated loads allowing them to select the right vehicle for each route.
All vehicles are also equipped with Direct Vision Standard (DVS) 360 degree visibility. This means that they are compliant with TfL’s safety permit guidance – utilising a five camera system allowing for better safety for all road users – including cyclists.
Jonathan Lupton from Econ Engineering said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by all three TfL contractors as their winter maintenance vehicle partner of choice.
“This is a significant contract award for us and demonstrates our standing within the highways and transports sector.
“For more than 50 years, Econ has become an industry leader in the manufacturing of gritters, and our vehicles are used by councils, highways agencies, and road contractors the length and breadth of the UK.
“In addition to selling gritters, we also have an extensive hire fleet, and two of the three TfL framework contractors have chosen to go down this route.”
TfL said: “For the next seven years the three contractors will be ensuring our roads are kept open whatever the weather conditions. And for their part, they have chosen Econ Engineering to supply them with the necessary vehicles to ensure they fulfil their contractual obligations.”