GRITTERS were mobilised across Lancashire last night as the coldest weather of the year so far was forecast.

The Met Office warned motorists braving today’s rush hour of freezing fog and travel disruption.

Gritting teams from Lancashire County Council were predicting troublesome driving conditions today due to a low road surface temperature.

Authorities said that despite criticism of how the gritting had been handled in the past two weeks they remained confident that they were prepared for the icy weather.

The Highways Agency was also warning drivers they would face ‘a miserable drive into work’ this morning.

Public realm manager for LCC, Duncan Reeve, said the county’s gritters had been out every night but one, since the last week in November.

Speaking to the Telegraph yesterday, he said: “We are anticipating road temperatures of minus five, which will be a problem on the roads as grit is less effective at temperatures below minus five. Minimum air temperatures will be minus six.

“The most troublesome night we have had so far was on Thursday night into Friday when snow was forecast.

“However, we had rain at most levels and some snow on higher ground. The levels which were affected kept changing through the night, so there were particularly hazardous conditions that evening and the following morning.”

Gritting teams from Blackburn with Darwen Council were also anticipating some challenging nights ahead.

Councillor Dave Harling, the executive member for regeneration, said: “We always keep a close eye on the weather reports and are well prepared for the drop in temperature. Our grit supplies are healthy and we're out gritting around the clock. We use our ‘BwD Winter Facebook’ page to keep people fully up-to-date.

“Our volunteer winter grit squads are also doing a sterling job of helping us keep their local footways gritted. I would urge people to take care out there on the roads and footways and keep safe."

The Met Office is forecasting poor visibility and low temperatures today. Freezing temperatures are expected to return overnight, but visibility is forecast to improve.

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