Storm Arwen in Sunderland: 600 reports of storm damage and more than 85 fallen trees dealt with - council reveals scale of chaos caused

Sunderland City Council has revealed the scale of damage caused by Storm Arwen as the repair and recovery mission continues across Wearside.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:31 pm

The local authority said that, in the period since the extreme weather first began on Friday night and continued across the weekend, it had responded to mlore than 600 reports of storm damage.

The council said its arboriculture team had been dealing with, and in some cases removing, more than 50 trees to restore access across the city's priority road network as well as making safe 35 trees next to homes and businesses.

This included one very large tree which had blocked the A690 Durham Road at Bede Bank and another which blocked Chester Road near the cemetery, both of which were leaning dangerously and at risk of toppling towards houses.

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Storm Arwen damage - Gloucester Avenue. Fulwell

The council said its building control officers were also assessing structural damage to 28 properties, mainly involving walls and gable ends and arranging for them to be made safe.

Local authority staff have also been making welfare checks on elderly and vulnerable residents that were left without power as a result of the storm.

And after the high winds gave way to icy conditions from Sunday onwards, gritting teams have also been out to keep the city’s primary and secondary routes open in sub-zero temperatures, with some gritter drivers having to stop their vehicles and clearing debris from the roads themselves as they came across it during the course of their shifts.

Sunderland City Council Leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, said: "I'd like to thank members of the public for bearing with us while council teams continue to respond to the storm damage left by Storm Arwen.

Storm Arwen damage - Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland

"We had teams working around the clock all weekend in atrocious conditions to support communities affected by the storm. This included removing trees in danger of falling onto residents’ homes and unblocking major routes and other roads around the city as well as helping make safe collapsed walls and gable ends and checking on elderly and vulnerable people left without power

“I can't speak highly enough of the sterling work put in by council staff and everyone else involved in the response who worked flat out to keep communities safe through one of the worst storms our city has ever seen. They did a tremendous job in incredibly challenging conditions which included battling unprecedented winds and freezing temperatures to deal with the trail of destruction left by Storm Arwen and I really can't thank them enough.

“Council teams are still working flat out, responding to more than 600 reports of storm damage that came in over the weekend and continuing to prioritise incidents which pose a threat to life, property or major disruption. This means it may take longer than usual to clear smaller amounts of debris which have been left by the storm and to deal with less urgent service requests and I’d like to thank all our residents for their patience and understanding while we work our way through these.”

The council is continuing to urge residents to continue checking on elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours. If you have any concerns for their welfare to report these to the council on 0191 520 5513.