Hartlepool council prepares for winter freeze after bill for battling ‘Beast from the East’ revealed

A Hartlepool Borough Council gritter wagon becomes stuck in the snow on the Greatham Village road from the A689, Sappers Corner junction. Picture by FRANK REID
A Hartlepool Borough Council gritter wagon becomes stuck in the snow on the Greatham Village road from the A689, Sappers Corner junction. Picture by FRANK REID

Council bosses are underway with their preparations for the winter after it was revealed they spent more than £150,000 battling the big freeze earlier this year.

Figures from a Freedom of Information request showed Hartlepool Borough Council spent £152,415 on winter maintenance from December 2017 to March this year, £30,000 more than the previous year.

Weather Hartlepool Borough Council critter stuck in drifting snow on the Elwick Village to Hartlepool road heading to Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Weather Hartlepool Borough Council critter stuck in drifting snow on the Elwick Village to Hartlepool road heading to Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

During that period Hartlepool, along with the rest of the country, had to contend with conditions from by ‘The Beast from the East’ and also Storm Emma.

The same period the previous year saw  £121,234 spent on keeping the town moving in winter, while £103,834 was spent from December 2015 to March 2016 on winter maintenance.

Council bosses said the increased cost was down to the ‘far more challenging weather conditions’ faced.

They are now well underway with their preparations for the coming winter to ensure services will be able to continue as normal should extreme cold weather hit.

Tony Hanson, Hartlepool Borough Council assistant director for environment and neighbourhood services, said: “Keeping the public safe and the town moving during adverse weather are our main concerns.

“Conditions were far more challenging during winter 2017/18 than in previous years, and the necessary increases in winter maintenance costs for this financial year reflect this.

“Our highways and environmental teams worked around the clock to minimise disruptions and address increased demand across the borough, clearing roads and footpaths of the heavy snow and ice we experienced over the course of several weeks.

“Residents can be assured that preparations are well underway for this coming winter, with salt reserves already stocked to a sufficient level ahead of the colder months and ongoing vehicle checks taking place to ensure machinery is prepared for a drop in temperatures.”

The winter maintenance spending carried out by the council in large covers gritting/salting, staffing, vehicles and vehicle maintenance.

Defined routes are pre-treated in the event of an adverse weather forecast and should conditions persist, or snow falls, treatment may be repeated (continuously if necessary) until the adverse conditions end.

Once all routes on the defined network are open and clear of hazard, and if the conditions continue to persist, then treatment of other highways may be considered.