Council gritting teams praised for efforts during cold snap

Council workers tasked with making Northumberlands roads safe during the recent onslaught of cold weather have been praised for their hard work and dedication.

Councillors and members of the public have heaped praise on the teams who worked tirelessly to make roads safe despite some of the most challenging conditions the county has witnessed in decades.

The storm known as 'the beast from the east' because of its Siberian origins caused traffic chaos and forced many public buildings and workplaces to shut their doors this week.

Councillor Peter Jackson, the leader of the council said: "I think most people appreciate the size of the task to hand and can see just how hard our teams have been working to get things moving again.

"My top priority will always be residents' safety and we've seen that on the ground in the way the gritting teams have prioritised the busiest roads. The north of the county has been the busiest, where we're still working to fully reopen the roads and refuge centres have been set up. Northumbrians have a very distinctive community spirit and through difficult times like this, we see what it means for people to come together."

Councillor Glen Sanderson is the cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services including the front line gritting teams.

He said: "I'm incredibly proud that our teams have been able to step up to the plate and meet the incredible challenges mother nature has laid out for them.

"We've received positive feedback throughout the last few days and I have made sure to pass it on to the people working on the ground. It has made a real difference to morale.

"We've been stretched to the limit, and have had to pull in resources from outside the council to cope with demand. I had a shift on the JCB today and I know that my colleagues were out yesterday marshalling traffic and digging cars out of trouble.

"Obviously we would have liked to do more, but I can say with confidence that thanks to everyone's hard work and dedication we have done absolutely all we can."

Snowfall is expected to ease off on Saturday, with high winds possible and the Met Office has advised that the worst of the weather will have passed by Sunday. Despite this, residents are urged to take care when driving, particularly with the possibility of black ice on the roads.