Grit business snowballs

A gritting firm has seen its business snowball as unpredictable weather causes demand to soar.

Ice Watch, based at Carlton, near Saxmundham, was started seven years ago and expects its turnover to reach �1million this year as East Anglia’s variable climate drives demand.

The firm now employs nine full-time staff and 60 part-time regional contractors. It has just taken on three new staff to join its customer support team.

Managing director Paul Bowling said the continued growth in the business meant they needed to expand the team to maintain customer service levels.

“Here in East Anglia our winter weather is more variable than other parts of the UK,” he said.

“As a company, our policy is to only grit when necessary. This minimises unnecessary labour resource and environmental impact.”

Weatherquest, which is run by TV weatherman Jim Bacon, provides weather forecasting services for Ice Watch.

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According to Meteorologist Phil Garner, it’s our proximity to the sea that makes it more difficult to predict our weather.

“Predicting our weather is far less certain due to the influence of the sea. When high pressure sets in and draws cold air from the North or East predicting frosts is relatively easy for many areas of the UK,” he said.

“However, the effect of the sea can result in noticeable differences in temperature only a few miles apart. Where as one are area might have frost, a few miles down the road might be frost free,” he points out.

Whether we are in for another hard winter is too early to say suggests Mr Garner but Ice Watch is bracing itself for a possible cold snap.

“Not only have we increased the size of our customer support team but we’ve also increased our salt supplies for this winter too,” said Mr Bowling.