THE 'Beast from the East' sent City of York Council over budget by nearly £200,000, figures have revealed.

The city council spent £581,000 on winter maintenance - including road gritting - in 2017/18, almost 50 per cent over its £400,000 budget.

Council officials have confirmed that their teams gritted roads in the city 108 times, on top of treating footpaths 27 times and cycle paths another five times - adding up to the £181,000 overspend.

However, they say the authority has a £258,000 “winter maintenance reserve” fund set aside specifically to help cover the costs when the city has a particularly hard winter.

Cllr Peter Dew, the council’s executive member for transport and planning, praised the front line staff who went out in terrible weather to clear roads and paths, and who have worked hard since on temporary repairs to roads damaged in the bad weather.

Cllr Dew said: “It was to be expected that we would go over budget on that, and I think they did as well as they could.

“I have said often that the highways team did an excellent job, not only the gritting crews getting their job done but also the follow up of temporary pothole repairs which were due to the weather as well.”

The temporary pothole repairs have now been completed, he added, and the council now has its own teams and contractors at work on the 2018/19 programme of roadworks.

Cllr Dew also said that unexpectedly harsh winters are “why we have a contingency”, and added that the council would keep this year’s costs in mind when setting the next budget for winter maintenance.

At the beginning of February a council spokesman confirmed it had already spent £338,441 of the winter budget, before the Beast from the East and Storm Emma hit with the worst of the cold weather.

Early March saw the UK hit by unseasonably cold air which swept in from Siberia and left much of the country with temperatures feeling as low as -10C.