Press release

Highways Agency ready whatever the weather this winter

Whatever weather the winter brings to drivers across the North East, freezing conditions or pouring rain, the Highways Agency is ready and prepared, and this year has a new high volume pump at its disposal.

Located on the A1 at Bradbury this is the first pump of its kind to be purchased by the Highways Agency and it can remove 9000 litres of water a minute.

Highways Agency Service Delivery Manager, Nicolas Adshead, said:

The Highways Agency in the North East is well-prepared for winter. Our new high volume pump is able to be deployed on site, lay a kilometre of hose and be ready to pump within 30 minutes, tackling flooding and keeping any disruption to our network to an absolute minimum.

The high volume pump has been purchased to deal with large flooding events such as those experienced across the North East in 2012 and will greatly increase the Agency’s resilience to future flood events.

If rain turns to snow, we have three winter depots in the region and also share a depot with Northumberland County Council in Alnwick, from which 54 winter operatives can work round the clock, using 21 salt spreading vehicles and three snow blowers.

We will do all we can to keep the roads open during severe weather, but if drivers can carry out a few simple vehicle checks, pack a few important winter items in their vehicles and plan journeys, we can work together to keep the region’s roads moving.

The Agency encourages drivers to take some simple steps during winter:

  • Check your vehicle – fuel and fluid levels, electrics and tyres – before setting out.
  • Be prepared with an emergency kit in your vehicle, including ice-scraper, de-icer, warm clothes and blankets, torch, boots, first aid kit, jump leads, a spade, a road atlas and sunglasses (for the winter glare).
  • Plan your journeys. Check weather and travel conditions before and during your journey.
  • If the weather is very severe, consider whether your journey is essential or travel at a different time. In winter, the weather can change quickly so always be prepared for bad weather.
  • Remember that even when roads have been treated with salt, ice can still form, particularly on bends or under overhanging trees.

The Highways Agency provides real-time traffic information for the motorways and other strategic roads in England using a range of channels, including the web, social media and through national and local radio stations.

For more advice on being ready for severe weather, visit the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ pages at For detailed information on local and national weather conditions, visit the Met Office website or listen to local radio broadcasts.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.