Abandoned cars are stopping the gritters from clearing the snow

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has said that cars that have been abandoned due to getting stuck in the snow are preventing gritting trucks from doing their job properly.

"Highway authorities are working to keep roads open but delays have been caused by broken-down vehicles and minor accidents.
"It is clear that abandoned and broken-down vehicles preventing access for gritters and, in some cases, preventing access to highway depots, is a major factor in the situation."

The government has once again been criticised for the way in which the country has suffered as a result of the recent snowfalls, with shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said Mr Hammond was "demonstrating a breathtaking degree of complacency".

"You are not filling the House with any kind of confidence that you are dealing with your responsibilities adequately," he added.

Hammond said that the current situation was worse than the last time the country was plagued by wintery conditions, saying that the snow fell "in much greater quantities than were experienced earlier this year".

The snow is continuing to cause high levels of traffic across the country, with the worst incident being on the M20 in Kent where tailbacks stretched for as far as 50 miles yesterday morning. Yesterday's rush hour saw a total of 205 hours of delays.

The weather is expected to remain cold over the weekend, with the north-west of England, west Scotland and Northern Ireland all set to get a fresh flurry of snow.
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