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February 24, 2010 4:16 PM

Winter isn't over yet and may still bite but we're already looking at any lessons learned from the worst Christmas and January weather for 30 years.

The council had adequate supplies of grit overall but things were getting tight by the fourth week.

The priorities were clearing the main roads and the bus routes, other streets that were especially bad, shopping centres and areas around homes for the elderly and other communal areas.

Most wheelie bins were emptied on time despite great difficulties in access, including getting past abandoned cars.

Over 250 council staff were redeployed to snow-clearing by hand and even councillors helped out on the odd occasion.

Councillor Neil Hamilton said: "There are over a thousand miles of road in Newcastle so it isn't practical to grit all of them - and there's even more miles of pavements and pathways.

"There are hundreds of grit bins around the city - they were restocked regularly and they may have been sufficient if people hadn't taken grit out of them for their own pathways instead of leaving it for the roads and pavements.

"However, there is obviously scope for more of them and extra money will be set aside. Let us know if you think that there is a strong case for a particular location.

"Meanwhile, can we thank all those local people who showed true grit themselves by looking out for their neighbours and lending a helping hand."