A GOVERNMENT agency has "dusted off" its gritters and sent them out for the first time this year.

National Highways: North East - which was known as Highways England until August this year - posted on Twitter about its fleet heading out last night.

The state-owned company, which operates, maintains and improves motorways and major A roads in the North East, said it is the first time in 2021 that its gritters have been out.

They were deployed on the A66 overnight - a major route connecting the east of Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire to Workington, in Cumbria.

National Highways: North East explained it has been keeping an eye on temperatures since the start of the month, but 20 days in was the time for the gritters to be called on.

The post on Twitter said: "We've dusted off our fleet of gritters after the summer and are carrying out our first treatment tonight.

"Although we've been monitoring temperatures since the start of October, tonight is our first run of the year.

"We'll be on the A66 overnight, give us space if you see us!"

Temperatures dropped to six and seven degrees Celsius overnight in Bradford, according to the Met Office.

This decreased even further to three degrees Celsius at 5am and 6am this morning, before hitting a low of two degrees Celsius at 7am and 8am.