CIVIC bosses were celebrating victory yesterday in a battle to get additional salt supplies for County Durham.
Durham County Council was resuming its treatment programme for both A and B roads yesterday.
Earlier this week the restrictions in delivery of salt by the Government’s Salt Cell and forecasts of severe weather forced the council to cut back its salted network to A roads only, representing just 15% of the county's highways network.
Following pressure from council officers, members and MPs the authority has received additional salt.
Terry Collins is Durham County Council's director of neighbourhood services, said: "It's no secret that we have been doing all we can to put pressure on the people making the decisions to see Durham as a special case.
"By pushing every day, good progress has been made.
"Durham has been promised 600 tonnes today and 400 tonnes per day next week. If this is confirmed we can reinstate A and B roads and open up some of our rural communities again.
"While this is a vast improvement, it represents just 31% of our network and still falls short of the 45% we would prefer to treat, so we will continue to lobby in our efforts to return to our full winter maintenance programme."
Cabinet Member for Strategic Environment, Coun Bob Young said: "I am really delighted that it looks as though all our hard work has paid off for residents. I know this won't help everyone but there's no doubt it will help keep many of our rural communities on the move and especially those on high ground which have experienced the most difficult conditions.”
The agreement was reached following successful lobbying of both the DfT and Cleveland Potash, the company which supplies Durham County Council, which has agreed to amend its work schedule to provide additional salt by working through the weekend.
Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods said: “I have been working day in, day out to get the Salt Cell and the DfT to realise that Durham’s situation requires more salt. I am delighted that we have been promised 600 tonnes of salt for today and the weekend and an extra 400 tonnes next week which will allow the County Council to re-start the gritting of B-roads.
“It took a lot of effort to get the Salt Cell to listen to the concerns raised by me and others. Durham’s specific topography and the extremely cold weather we’ve been experiencing here have meant that the amount of salt we have been getting has been far from sufficient. I hope that this increase in supply will make a big difference, and that people, especially in the Durham villages, will be able to get around more easily and that bus services should be better able to run at least on the B-roads.”