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Thousands of tonnes of salt stockpiled for winter weather

The Beast from the East battered the North East. Picture: PA.
The Beast from the East battered the North East. Picture: PA.

Winter preparations in County Durham have seen more than 40,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled by the county council.

‘Strategically placed’ bags stashed across the county, ready for a potential repeat of the so-called Beast from the East.

And highways bosses are confident a good performance last time round will serve them in good stead again this year.

“Last winter’s weather was some of the most challenging we’ve had in recent years, we had some very severe conditions,” said John Reed, Durham County Council’s head of Technical Services.

“Some of our Priority One routes were closed, but we worked very quickly to get them back open.

“With the Beast from the East, one of the big problems was wind – sometimes we would clear roads and then the wind would blow more snow in from the fields.”

Mr Reed was speaking at this morning’s meeting of the county council’s Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

He added the county’s 42,000-tonne salt capacity was currently ‘full to the brim’, but also appealed to the public to notify the council when salt bins run low so they can be restocked.

The panel heard net expenditure on highways during winter last year (2017/18) was £6.7m – a 55 per cent increase on 2016/17.

Last winter’s bad weather also saw 8,117 salting runs to deal with snow, and almost 62,000 tonnes of salt was used.

Coun Eddy Adam, the committee chairman, said: “I think it’s important to note that this year we’ve had very severe weather, not just the Beast from the East, but also an extended period of time as well.

“We’ve got to thank the efforts of the staff, it’s quite an expensive period for the authority, but I think we’ve managed that very well.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service