COUNCILS get a hard time. Sometimes they even deserve it. 

More emails, web comments and letters come in to the Echo to complain about councils than about anything else. It is probably safe to predict that even if President Trump took us to the brink of nuclear war the Echo postbag would still be brimming with missives about parking charges, overpaid executives, and grass that’s been allowed to grow too long.

"Never mind impending armageddon, why do I have to wheel my bin to the end of the drive?" 

The small things in life matter and one of the most important roles a local newspaper has is to provide a platform for reader’s gripes - your voice deserves to be heard. We also challenge the people who govern our lives, and we remain fiercely independent from politicians, police, health service bosses, businesses, football clubs AND councils.

We also report the things they get right and we strive to give fair and balanced coverage. 

In today’s paper we reveal how councils are struggling to tackle the scourge of fly tipping. It's worth remembering that the real villains of the piece are the numbskulls who think dumping rubbish in fields and back lanes is acceptable.

Similarly, news that older people face paying £500 extra a year towards social care as part of Durham County Council plans comes against a backdrop of Government cuts which mean councils have much less cash for vital services.

And fair play to Darlington Borough Council which had the good sense to approve cheaper parking and bus fares over Christmas

We make no apology for continuing to expose waste, wrongdoing and incompetence at county hall but when they get things right we’ll show our support.