Council satisfied with responses to winter conditions

A Northumberland County Council gritter on the Longhoughton to Alnwick road.
A Northumberland County Council gritter on the Longhoughton to Alnwick road.
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Despite recent hints of spring sunshine, gritting and preparations for wintry weather continue to be a focus for county-council officers.

A review of winter services during 2015/16 so far was presented to Wednesday’s meeting of the authority’s communities and places scrutiny committee and in the main, it’s good news.

The report explains that the process of weather warnings and subsequent decision-making has worked very well, while operational performance has been ‘very good’ with all staff and driver rotas filled.

Between October and the end of February, the teams carried out precautionary gritting on 124 occasions.

However, the report does concede: ‘Occasionally, forecasted weather conditions can change unexpectedly or the conditions can be so severe that effective treatment of the network becomes impossible. An example of this occurred in November 2015 when overnight rain cleared quickly around dawn and the roads froze almost instantly.

‘The south-east area of the county in particular became treacherous and even the gritter drivers found conditions very difficult. This resulted in a number of accidents during the rush hour which further exasperated the situation as gritters got caught up in the traffic’.