True grit will see us through winter

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TRUE grit will help South Tyneside cope with the worst of the winter weather, council officials have insisted.

After heavy snowfall in recent winters, the borough council has drawn up revamped plans to tackle weather extremes.

The new-look £418,000 winter maintenance service will include everything from road gritting to footway salting and improved weather forecasts.

Plans for tackling wintry weather were unveiled at a full meeting of South Tyneside Council.

The plans will include four gritter vehicles and 150 salt bins across the borough.

But the issue of grit supplies to the bins was raised in the Town Hall.

Coun Jeff Milburn, the Conservative representative for Cleadon and East Boldon, said: “I have had two reports of grit bins with no grit in them.

“I would like to see the grit bins filled up on a regular basis.”

But Coun Tracey Dixon said it was “quite difficult” to ensure grit bins were constantly filled across South Tyneside.

After the severe winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11, the council has revised its maintenance programme.

The service includes a team of trained winter maintenance managers working on a rota basis, a bureau service for local weather information and footway gritting teams.

There are also plans in place to support sheltered accommodations, provide snow shovels to community groups and provide more weather updates on the council website.

A council report said: “The country has recently experienced three winters back-to-back in which significant snowfalls have occurred.

“Two of these winters brought snowfalls that were severe and prolonged, resulting in major updates and revisions to national guidance for winter service providers.

“These national guidance updates necessitated a complete revision of the council’s winter service plan.”