Extreme weather caused by the ‘Beast from the East’ storm cost South Tyneside Council more than £300,000, it has been revealed.
Along with the rest of the country, the borough was battered by ‘The Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma this year with disruption to public transport and council services.
The cost to South Tyneside Council of trying to keeping services moving was £305,331 – for the period from December to March.
The biggest expense was salt at £191,425 followed by £91,198 on drivers and £22,708 on service management / ICT systems.
Lead member for area management and community safety, Coun Moira Smith, said the extreme weather posed its own set of challenges and an “additional burden” on council resources.
“The ‘Beast from the East’ resulted in us buying an additional 2,000 tonnes of salt and sourcing more drivers to keep the priority routes open at an estimated cost of £80,000 more than we would pay under more usual winter conditions,” she said.
“Staff from across the council and South Tyneside Homes and their partners pulled out all the stops to minimise the impact of the cold snap on local communities.”
South Tyneside Council’s winter weather plan covered 311km of priority routes and 7,000 tonnes of stockpiled salt as it went into the winter period.
It also operated a fleet of four gritting wagons and a towable gritter, six salt spreaders and 30 hand salters for hard-to-reach footway areas.
Alongside partners at South Tyneside Homes and emergency services, council staff worked to keep vulnerable residents safe, clear roads and minimise disruption to residents.
Coun Smith added: “Our gritting teams worked 24 hours a day to keep the borough moving and staff worked over the weekends to clear snow and grit in priority areas and support our most vulnerable residents.
“It is thanks to fantastic partnership working that we were able to keep the borough moving in the face of some of the most extreme weather we have seen for many years.”
The winter storm also hit other authorities in the region, with Sunderland CIty Council facing a £844,000 bill over the same period – £100,000 more than the usual cost.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service