AS the UK braces itself for an icy winter blast, preparations are in place to ensure Middlesbrough remains open for business.

Plummeting temperatures are forecast for the coming days, bringing with them strong winds, icy roads and the possibility of snow.

Middlesbrough Council’s transport, environment and Streetscene teams are poised to swing into action, with regular weather updates from the Meteo Group.

Last year the teams used around 2,000 tonnes of road salt, and so far this year the teams have used 1,000 tonnes since the first action of the season on November 2.

A further 2,500 tonnes remain in the barn at Cargo Fleet and, as in previous years, further stocks will be available from Boulby if required.

The gritter fleet remains at seven, with five vehicles for the Priority Routes and two spares on standby to cover breakdowns and maintenance or to provide additional cover in severe conditions.

Salt bins will once again be deployed to ensure major routes are kept clear, while extra resources will also be made available to ensure town centre roads and pavements remain safe and passable.

Middlesbrough boasts one of the fastest gritting times in the country, with the team able to cover roads on the borough’s five gritting routes – a total distance of 180 miles – in just two hours.

Councillor Tracy Harvey, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “Predicting the really cold snaps isn’t an exact science, but the indications are that we can expect some very low temperatures and strong winds over the coming week.

“As ever our crews are ready with the equipment, expertise and experience they need to keep our major routes clear and ensure the town centre remains open for business, whatever the weather.”

The popular winter weather feature can be accessed via the home page of the Middlesbrough Council website throughout the winter months, with regular updates on grit stocks, weather forecasts and road conditions.