WORCESTERSHIRE County Council has officially closed its winter gritting programme for this year.

Despite it not being a very icy winter, the gritting teams travelled more than 50,000 miles during the winter months - the equivalent of travelling from Worcester to Sydney on a return flight.

For the few weeks when ice was particularly hazardous on the roads the gritting teams were able to help thaw them to help keep drivers and pedestrians were safe from ice.

Worcestershire's gritting fleet is one of the first in the country equipped with brine technology, which uses brine solution on salt before it is placed on roads. That helps it work more quickly and cuts the potential for waste, as it helps more grit stay on the highway, rather than bouncing off roads.

Any salt not been used this year is stored in the barns at one of the county's gritting yards ready for next winter, meaning wastage is kept to a minimum.

Conservative councillor John Smith, Worcestershire County Council, said: "Despite it being a very wet winter, the gritting team were still out and about ensuring that the county's roads were kept de-iced. We have a very efficient system here in Worcestershire, that ensures that we have ample supplies of grit, should the weather worsen. I am thrilled with the work of all teams involved."

The gritter twitter, used to update residents, is now closed until next winter.

During the warmer months, in addition to continuing the work of repairing potholes and other road defects, highways teams are travelling around the county between now and July to deliver this year's surface dressing programme.

The programme will see around 100 miles - or 1 million square metres - of road resurfaced to improve road conditions and safety for drivers.