WATER bosses are gearing up to tackle the big thaw following the big freeze. United Utilities has opened a Leakline for people to report the increasing numbers of leaks and bursts expected to hit water pipework as temperatures rise. When the ground thaws after a prolonged period of cold weather, it can move — putting stress on pipes, causing them to leak or burst. Stuart Atkinson, regional water network manager said: “It is not unusual to see the number of leaks and bursts increase when the temperature shifts after a prolonged cold snap. The public can really help us by reporting any leaks they spot on the roads or pavements. “Our operations centre is fully geared up and we have engineers and leak detection teams working all around the region.

“Since the extreme winters of recent years, we’ve also invested in extra 4x4 vehicles to make sure our engineers can get to remote areas still snowbound.” The free Leakline number is 0800 330033.