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Snow has us freezing in our tracks – why?

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Comments (1)

EVERY time it snows in this country we seem to grind to a halt.

Airports close, buses stop running and the shops run out of supplies.

My wife happened to go into a local supermarket the day before our recent snowfall to be faced with empty shelves and a distinct lack of certain products, including for some strange reason, apples.

Whilst we must congratulate the many council workers who kept our main roads open and our rubbish cleared, I am rather concerned that we still have not got to grips with the weather.

While many of our European neighbours seem to cope quite well, we are unable to deal with weather patterns which are becoming more and more common.

Airports spend thousands of pounds on new equipment and yet flights are still cancelled after just a few flakes of snow.

Schools also seem to be closed more frequently due to health and safety issues, and many of our minor roads and a number of our pavements remain ungritted.

We are constantly told in the newspapers and on television that the authorities have taken every precaution and that forward planning will ensure that everything is under control.

However every year we still have problems.

Looking back to the 1960s when we had some very severe winters, we still managed to keep the trains running and our schools remained open.

During the bad weather of 2010 it was estimated that the snow cost the country £1.2 billion a day in lost revenue as restaurants, shops and business suffered.

Surely it is time to take stock and put together a national snow plan which could be implemented each year to cope with the winter snow?

I wonder sometimes what other countries must think of us.

It seems that every time it snows we struggle to keep going, while other countries cope with temperatures well below freezing and snowfalls that make our small amounts seem insignificant.

However, in these difficult times, we still have our heroes and our thanks should go out to all those around Castle Cary who set to and cleared a number of the main footpaths, especially the one leading up to the primary school from the town.

As mentioned before, school closures can be a big issue and there is a lot of talk about the added cost to parents who in many cases are faced with added child care bills.

While I sympathise with the problem it is important that the safety of our children comes first.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has recently announced that schools will not be penalised if students are unable to get in due to snowy or dangerous conditions, and recent reforms allow heads to open schools if they feel it is safe to do so.

Let us hope that by next year a country-wide plan has been put in place that will keep us up and running.

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  • Hareymary  |  January 31 2013, 1:36PM

    We shouldn't compare our reaction to snowy and icy weather to that of our European neighbours where they have a much higher incidence of much worse conditions and have put in very expensive infrastructures to deal with them. For the comparatively few days we have snow, etc, it would not be viable to do the same.