Keeping the network safe this autumn

During the Autumn season, there is much to do to prepare the network for the challenges the dark nights and winter weather bring.

This page outlines some of our forthcoming highways activity and also outlines how you the public can help us maintaining a safe a free-flowing network.

Street Cleansing.

Additional resource is allocated during the Autumn to remove fallen leaves from the network. If left, fallen leaves can either enter and restrict the highways drainage system or they can form mulch which leaves a slippery road or pavement surface. This extra resource – including an additional mechanical sweeper – is deployed in the ten weeks up to Christmas.

Ditch It!

Roadside ditches are important both in taking water off the highway and in preventing it entering the road surface from neighbouring land. It is important therefore that ditches are kept clear of debris so their capacity is not reduced.

In the autumn, Island roads undertakes a survey of the ditches for which it is responsible. Based on these inspections, it then undertakes any required ditch clearance.

child's welly boots by puddle

Land and property owners also have a duty to prevent water – weather from rainfall or a watercourse – entering the public highway network.

All property owners are responsible for protecting their property from flooding. It is important you identify any problems with water draining from your property onto the highway and that you prevent surface water or water from down pipes discharging onto the highway. It is important you take steps such as keeping guttering and surface drains clear of debris.

Landowners with land running adjacent to the highway must ensure ditches are kept clear and land is adequately drained to prevent earth and vegetation from slipping onto the highway area.

If it does fall or overhang onto the highway, it is the landowner’s responsibility to clear this. If this work cannot be done quickly and satisfactorily, Island Roads may remove the debris to keep the highway safe and any costs will be passed to the landowner.

Riverside landowners

If you own land or property is next to a river or other watercourse you may have rights and responsibilities as a riverside or ‘riparian’ landowner. These rights and responsibilities are explained in a booklet produced by the Environment Agency called ‘Living on the Edge’. You can download a copy from This includes your responsibilities to maintain the bed and banks of the watercourse (including trees and shrubs), clearing obstructions, maintaining flood defences and protecting your property from seepage.

A flood warning sign and a car passing through a flooded road behind

In partnership with the Isle of Wight Council and the Environment Agency, we have created a leaflet called Ditch It! which explains what you must do to help prevent highway flooding.

You can see the leaflet here

You can report any problems with water discharge on the highway to Island Roads on 01983 822440.

Winter maintenance.

In the autumn we undertake work to ensure our winter service (gritting) fleet and our crews are ready for action. This is done through the ‘Autumn Parade’ a weekend of activity late in October to ensure our vehicles are primed and ready to go and our crews are re-familiarised with their vehicles (plus any new equipment) and the gritting routes.

Our winter service depot at Stag Lane is home to our six frontline gritters, back-up and specialist vehicles as well as the Island’s road salt supply. We begin each year with a stockpile of 1,600 tonnes which is more than enough to cope with even exceptionally severe winter weather. We can always obtain additional supplies in the unlikely event they are required.

Around 50 staff are based at the depot which also houses our gully-emptying and street cleansing teams.

Our gritting routes are set by the Isle of Wight Council and can be seen – along with further information on our winter service – via the following links. There are no changes to the gritting routes this year.

 This year, two additional gritter vehicle drivers have been trained in order to provide additional service resilience.

Road stud (cat’s eye) survey.

Each year we survey the network to ensure all road studs (cat’s eyes) are working. Any deficient or missing are replaced. This work is done prior to the clocks going back and the nights becoming longer.

Inspect and Protect – trees affecting the network.

Island Roads carry out programmed inspections to ensure – as far as possible – trees on the highway network are in good condition.

Landowners who have trees that affect the highway network have similar duties to ensure they take precautions to minimise the risk of trees or branches falling into the road.

Though accidents involving trees are thankfully rare, there are still actions landowners must take to protect members of the public – and themselves – from falling trees or branches. A new leaflet, Inspect and Protect, explains these actions and highlights other relevant information such as respecting nesting birds and protected trees.

Autumn is a good time to carry out inspection of these trees as they have shed their leaves and signs of weaken in the tree may be more visible

You can download the Inspect and Protect leaflet here

Highway improvement and maintenance

As we emerge from the summer period when our ability to undertake highways work is limited by the need not to disrupt the peak holiday season, there is also a window in which we can resume our highway improvement work.

The following schemes will all be undertaken during the autumn (and in some cases beyond).

Rene Howe Walk (the Cascades). A 27-week programme of work to replace railings and resurface Rene Howe Walk is underway and expected to finish in the spring.

New Road, Wootton. Two weeks of highway improve the road will take place from September 25.

There are also plans for highway improvement work at Fairlee Road, Newport and the Middle Road opposite Calbourne Mill.