More chaos as snow halts Britain

Candy Bellinger

Once again Britain has seemingly been thrown into chaos with heavy snowfall leaving planes, trains and automobiles standing. The north of the country has been battling blizzards already this week and last night southern England suffered the same fate.

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Heavy snowfalls (up to 10 inches in places) across the south west and Home Counties have left hundreds of schools closed and travel has become virtually impossible. Councils are already running low on grit and salt supplies, Gatwick, Bristol and Exeter airports have cancelled all flights and in Hampshire, Army and Coastguard personnel were drafted in to rescue the drivers of up to 1,000 vehicles trapped in a 10 mile jam.

So with six more days of snow forecast, how will Britain cope?

Of course, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is doing all he can. "The weather is taking a turn for the worse. We are doing everything possible to keep disruption to a minimum," he declared.

But West Berkshire Council spokesman Keith Ulyatt tells a different story. He told The Telegraph: "We only have enough grit left for one more run on the A and B roads, and that will be this evening. Who knows when we will be getting any more?"

Well, quite.

Unlike December's heavy snowfall though, this time around we had plenty of warning, posing the question, why is it that snow brings Britain to a shuddering halt? Business experts have estimated that absenteeism this week could cost the economy in the region of £2 billion while the Trades Union Congress urged UK bosses to let staff work from home. That would surely kill two birds with one stone – keep businesses running and motorists off the dangerous roads.

Yet again, though, Britain appears entirely unprepared for snow. But then, when two inches is called "significant" what else did we expect?