BINMEN are to be sent out on foot to collect a backlog of rubbish which has gone uncollected because of winter weather.
With many side streets in the Consett area impassable since last week’s heavy snowfall, bins in some areas have gone unemptied for more than a week.
Durham County Council says it plans to send out tractor ploughs and gritters over the weekend to clear the way into hardest-hit streets in Consett, Blackhill, Shotley Bridge and Castleside.
They will be followed on Monday by smaller collection vehicles and crews on foot to collect bags of rubbish from hard-to-reach streets and bring them out for collection, but will not be able to collect bins.
Head of direct services at the council, Oliver Sherratt, told residents: "We are aware of your situation, share your frustrations with the conditions created by the extreme snowfall and are determined to get collections back on track as quickly as possible.
"We have tried hard to get into the streets in these areas but have withdrawn in the interests of protecting your safety".
He added: "Conditions allowing, we will return with full sized vehicles on Tuesday and Wednesday, the normal collection days for these areas, and all available trucks and staff will target refuse bins.
"This targeted approach, in the face of such extremely difficult conditions, is designed to get rid of the rubbish as a priority."
The authority says that around 80 per cent of bin collections have taken place despite the winter weather and that where refuse crews were unable to empty bins, they have been redeployed to clearing pavements.