MOST road repairs in County Durham are now being done with plastic.

Following trials in 2018, when about 22,000m of road were resurfaced with plastic, Durham County Council is now using the material for the the majority of schemes planned for this year.

About 100 tonnes of plastic – the equivalent to more than 900,000 shopping bags – have been used on roads, giving the county the largest amount of plastic roads in the UK.

The plastic used would otherwise go to landfill or be incinerated and it means less bitumen is required, which reduces the amount of fossil fuels used.

A report of the state of roads in County Durham is due to be considered by members of the council's cabinet at a meeting next Wednesday.

It says the county's A, B, and C roads are slightly better than the national average.

However unclassified roads are worse than average and deteriorated further following the severe winter in 2017/18.

The council has a maintenance backlog of £179.7million – the total it would take to bring the number of defects across the entire highway network zero.

It was down on the previous year's backlog, which was £187.6m

The condition of footpaths is also below average, with around a fifth considered to be "structurally unsound".

Cllr Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Durham, like most places throughout the country, has more demands on highways than there are resources to maintain and improve them.

"But despite unprecedented reductions in government funding since 2010, we have continued to prioritise investment in our programmed capital maintenance and have increased our investment in this from £0.7 million in 2010/11 to £7.5 million in 2018/19.”

County Durham has 3,792 kilometres of road, 489 road bridges ad 83,676 street columns.

Public satisfaction in the condition of roads remains low, according to the report.

In the latest survey, carried out in 2018, just 38 per cent of people were satisfied with the state of roads in County Durham, above the national average of 31 per cent.

In Durham, 53 per cent of people were satisfied with highway maintenance.