• Durham OnAir

Troops to remain in County Durham to support power restoration


Troops will continue to support the joint response to Storm Arwen in County Durham this week, after the Ministry of Defence agreed to extend its offer of support.

Around 80 members of the army were drafted in on Friday, to boost the help being provided to residents affected by power cuts in the wake of the storm.

The soldiers from the Royal Lancers have been working alongside representatives from a wide range of organisations in carrying out welfare checks, providing advice and information and delivering emergency supplies.

The servicemen and women are now set to continue their support until Wednesday after

County Durham and Darlington Local Resilience Forum (LRF) submitted a request to extend the arrangement.

John Hewitt, Chair of the LRF’s Strategic Coordinating Group and Chief Executive of Durham County Council, said: “The additional support provided by the military over the weekend has enabled us to strengthen and accelerate the support we are providing to residents.

“With some properties still offline, it is important that we continue to maintain the level of support to residents that we are currently providing. For that reason, we submitted a further Military Aid to the Civil Authority (MACA) request to the Ministry of Defence and they have approved it.”

Approval of the MACA sees the agreement extended for a further 48 hours until the end of Wednesday.

The council continues to work with Northern Powergrid to ensure that power is returned to all residents as soon as possible, but particularly the most vulnerable.

The latest update from Northern Powergrid shows that there are now less than 500 properties in County Durham without power, with east Durhambeing the worst affected area.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our dedicated armed forces personnel are working side by side with civil authorities to provide essential support to communities impacted by Storm Arwen. The ability to deploy quickly to wherever in the UK assistance is requested makes us all safer and ensures we are able to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”

Meanwhile, the council and its LRF partners are also making preparations for Storm Barra. The authority has already deployed gritters and other vehicles, equipment and resources in some areas of the county and will continue to monitor the situation.

Further partnership resources will be deployed if communities require additional assistance.

Anyone who is aware of an older or vulnerable person who needs help, can contact our customer services team on 03000 26 0000. This number is available 24 hours, with out of hours emergency support available through our Care Connect team.

To report a loss of power, including any issues with a generator, visit www.northernpowergrid.com – a map showing updated information on current power cuts is available at https://www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts.

If someone is without power and is vulnerable, call 105. Additional contact numbers are available for residents with a hearing or speech impairment. Full details are available at https://www.northernpowergrid.com/contact.

A list of community venues offering support can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/stormarwensupport.