SNOW and sub-zero temperatures have cost councils across Dorset millions of pounds.

Dorset County Council alone estimates the two spells of freezing weather cost it around £600,000.

Although Bournemouth and Poole councils have been unable to provide figures when requested by the Daily Echo, both acknowledge that the severe weather has been expensive.

Local authorities are responsible for many services affected by the weather, including gritting the roads.

During the first spell of snow earlier this month, refuse collections were also disrupted, leading to extra services the following weekend to catch up.

Many schools were closed and social care services stretched to the limit as they ensured the wellbeing of people in their care.

In the aftermath of the wintry weather, councils have been inundated with reports of additional potholes caused by the freezing conditions.

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said much of the high cost relates to the repair of potholes, the cost of sending out gritters, ploughs and crews around the clock and keeping offices open to support them.

Larry Austin, Bournemouth Borough Council’s Service Director, Environment said: "The extra resources needed to tackle the demands of the bad weather were built into existing funding through the council’s budget. As such there was resilience through our services, which helped meet the challenges that the snow brought to our network."

Many private businesses were also adversely affected by the weather with thousands of people across Dorset and Hampshire unable to get to work.

Shops, restaurants and leisure centres were also forced to close, losing tens of thousands of pounds.

A spokesman for Borough of Poole said: “Our gritting crews put down more than 600 tonnes of salt on the road network over the course of the two recent snow events. However, we were well prepared for this winter and the costs will be covered by the council’s existing budgets.”

More than 200 reports of potholes were made to Bournemouth council following the first spell of snowy weather.

A spokesperson for Bournemouth council urged people to report potholes online at or by calling 01202 451199.