AN equivalent 14 Olympic swimming pools full of road salt has been used by a council as it battles to keep the roads safe this winter.

North Yorkshire County Council's highways teams have worked 24/7 to battle the extreme weather and are reassuring residents they are prepared for any more to come.

In the month from Christmas to mid-January alone, 20,000 tonnes of salt was used and more than106 farming contractors are also on-call to plough ahead of the gritters in extreme conditions.

One of those, Pete Iveson, ploughs and treats Buttertubs and Fleet Moss – Yorkshire’s highest road – in the Dales.

He has driven through 6ft tall snow drifts and said: “This winter we have seen longer and colder spells which has proved really challenging.

Heavy snowfall meant hard work for gritters

Heavy snowfall meant hard work for gritters

“I covered 800 miles in a week earlier this year. I’m used to working around the clock but this winter I was starting at 3.45am just so I could get around the route."

As of mid-January, the council's 80 gritters have treated an approximate road distance of 14 times round the equator of the earth.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “I would like to thank our highways teams and farming contractors who work around the clock to make our roads as safe as possible.

"They have shown incredible resilience and it’s been a real Team North Yorkshire effort.

“Although we are coming to the end of winter we can’t rule out another bout of bad weather.

"When gritting crews are not out treating the network they can be responding to flooding in other parts of the county and repairing damage caused by this weather so we are ready for any more.

“I would like to reassure residents that we are currently refilling grit bins and heaps as quickly as we can.

"This process is a huge task as we have responsibility for more than 3,100 grit bins and 4,700 grit heaps.

“We are asking for patience and to use salt sparingly once they have been refilled to help sustain the stocks.

"The grit in the bins and heaps are for use on roads and footways only and not for private driveways.”