Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Response to icy roads 'appalling'

Snowy road
Underlying ice has made driving conditions treacherous

Not enough is being done to clear icy roads across Northumberland, according to a school head teacher.

Christine Thirlwell is head of Lowick C of E First School, one of about 20 across the county forced to close because of the cold weather.

She said the council's "appalling response" was to blame for members of staff being unable to travel to work.

A spokesman for the authority said they were doing everything in their power to keep the transport system moving.

The icy conditions have affected schools across the North East, with other closures in County Durham, Teesside and Sunderland.

Ms Thirlwell said: "The minor roads that my staff come in on - the B roads - are not cleared at all.

"The Wooler road is in an appalling condition. The estates that members of staff live on in Berwick - their roads aren't clear either.

"I think we've got to a situation where, if we're not careful, the whole county will grind to a halt. I feel as though the response this time has been appalling."

The council said all the A and B roads have been gritted twice a day for the past 19 days.

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