Gatwick to test new snow-busting kit

Ruth Doherty

Gatwick to test new snow-busting kit
Gatwick to test new snow-busting kit

Heard the one about the rare weather phenomenon bringing freezing temps and snow to Britain over the next couple of weeks? Yes, Gatwick obviously has, too, as airport chiefs are promising that snow-clearing capacity is now on par with Oslo.

Why? Thanks to an £8 million new "snow-busting kit", which comprises of 98 vehicles, up from the mere 47 it had two years ago.

Andy Crabb, Gatwick's airfields operations manager, explained that the airport is well-prepared for what the weather might throw at it.

He told This Is Surrey Today: "We have snow ploughs, brushes, cutters, blowers and deicing vehicles, as well as tractors.

"We have 18 'sweeper blowers' for the runway and taxiways, and six large runway anti-icing vehicles, and we can store up to 600,000 litres of anti-icing agent – twice as much as we had in 2010."

He added: "All £8 million worth of kit has arrived, been tested and is ready for use."
And there's a real crack-team of people that work around the clock to keep runways clear: during bad weather, a 66-strong team do 12-hour shifts to provide 24-hour cover and snow-free runways.

There are 120 extra staff available to call upon if the need arises, which, as there is 1.8 million square feet of runway, is always a possibility.

The new machinery isn't the only weapons against weather the airport has stocked up on; there's also 4,000 blankets, 600 mattresses, 8,000 bottles of water, 600 folding beds, 20 snow shovels and 10 travel cots in case passengers become stranded by bad weather.
So we believe Mr Crabb when he says: "We are as prepared as possible for the winter months."

And this could be put to the test over the next few days, with temperatures threatening to drop to -10C, and snow bought in by a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW).

According to the Daily Telegraph, temperatures are set to take a nosedive, and snow could hit from tomorrow (Saturday), with around one to two centimetres of snow possibly set to fall across London and the South West, before the wintry showers head further south towards Southampton and the South Coast.

The East Coast is also likely to see a covering, while northern areas such as Lincolnshire and Yorkshire could see as much as five to seven centimetres.

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