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stewfox

Should The Government Invest More In Snow Equipment ?

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Firstly we can't know if the last few years will be repeated in the next few years (snow / cold wise)

Short term measures , Councils can stock up on grit , get snow chains in shops etc I would get them now.

However the council buying snow clearing equipment is a mute point.

Snow is still rare for lowland areas over much of the UK

Spend billions and then get 4 green winters in a row ?.

Do we just accept that even if a cold snap is forcast days away it will mean Airports closes, roads closed deliveries stop etc etc

I love snow , watching it from the warmth of the house but getting about is a nightmare.

What would you do ?

We should all go out now and clear the side roads (after me cup of tea).

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We need to take personal responsibilities too - getting winter tyres fitted to our cars every November would help immensely, and it everybody simply pitched in and kept their 10 metres of road clear, side streets would never be blocked. How long does that take? Half an hour to an hour every fresh snowfall. When it has turned in to a bloody glacier it is a different story.

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I always used to grit my street(s) and even neighbours driveways and paths but in recent years there has been no salt tubs dropped nearby so they have remained like glaciers all winter.

I think they do need to start investing in more equipment and staff for the winter months because snow disruption will get worse as global warming starts to bite, sounds paradoxical but it is indeed the case.

We ourselves need to be better prepared as well, simple measures like a fold away snow shovel and snow tyres / chains can make all the difference between getting to where you're going or sleeping on the back seat.

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I think that Borrowing the needed items would be the best way, so if a mild winter did occur again with little snow then it would save a huge amount of £money and also would'nt have the items/equipment sitting around.

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It's all about personal responsibilities. Yes, clear your own bit of road if possible, contact your Council in the summer for more grit bins - NOT 24hrs before a good dumping !!! I did, and they've put another 3 gritbins and replaced 2 smaller ones within our village. Check out Highways Depts on this link, it shows all the UK Councils.

http://www.tagish.co.uk/links/localgov.htm

If everyone's snowed-in and can't move, do what I do and bang a few doors, get a shovelling team together and get a sweat on. Great for community spirit and we all end up in the Pub afterwards. After all, it's not like people have got anything else to do is it??

We can't keep blaming the Council/Highways Dept/Gritters whatever. If you live in a rural community you have to accept that you're not a priority for the clearance teams. Motorways, "A" roads, Hospital approaches etc are where their priorities lie.

A bit of British "Blitz" spirit is what's required, not bleat/whinge/moan......

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I think the extent to which snow disrupts our travel is remarkable.

To some extent I can understand the situation regarding the roads. We have no compulsory use of winter tyres as so many other countries do and the volume of traffic on some of our roads can make effective gritting very difficult.

But the trains and the planes????

Why Heathrow is not able to cope with weather that would be regarded as routine winter conditions for many European cities is beyond me.

And yesterday I heard on QI that the day after the atom bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, there were trains running!!! (It was in relation to some poor soul who caught the train from there to Nagasaki! ) Beggars belief that an inch of snow often prevents them running here!

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It's a very interesting topic this! As some of you may have heard the Government has asked the Chief Scientific Officer - Prof John Beddington - to report back to them on whether we should expect these severe snowy spells to carry on in the future, and hence as the topic suggests do we need to divert resources into tackling this. Actually, this is more a question regarding the UK's future climate and what we need to invest in for the next 30 odd years.

This story, about the CSO being asked, was briefly mentioned on BBC News this morning, although they seemed to have dropped it since then - infact if you think about the question being asked the BBC's science team should be getting their teeth into it - as the Government, in my mind, is now asking contrary to being told to expect Milder, Wetter, Snowless Winters, is this now still the view after 2-3 years of what would appear to be at the very least a regional shift in weather patterns.

So, it's a very good question, and it will be VERY interesting in seeing what Prof John Beddington actually reports back, as he is most certainly in the Meto/Hadley Camp of believing snow in the UK will become a thing of Myth for future generations. The government will obviously have to act on his recommendations, and it will be interesting how the Prof. goes about determining what is actually happening to the UK's climate at the moment. I also think it will be a hard turn-around for him to do if he decides the idea of "Snowless, Mild Winters" was just plain wrong.

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I really don't think it's worth the investment for two weeks a year.

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And yesterday I heard on QI that the day after the atom bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, there were trains running!!! (It was in relation to some poor soul who caught the train from there to Nagasaki! )

Not the wisest life choice to make!

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Eventually the government will find it is essential to invest in winters more. The low solar activity is likely to last for several decades, forget global warming and all the religion behind that, we are now entering a cooling phase where winters are going to be bitter for many years to come. In fact it is my belief that this might turn out to be quite a tame one compared to future ones, in a few years.

There is no doubt that the global warming hype and statements like that made not many years ago, like, our kids may never see snow again, has contributed to this lack of investment in salt and bad weather equipment. The government had better heed scientist from elsewhere that have the same thoughts as me else we are heading for disaster. Bad winters are here to stay for the forseeable future. Weather, and climate, is all about cycles, learn from this, and invest..Oh and stop trying to force a green tax on us. personally I think they are trying to make up for a huge loss in revenue due to so many quitting smoking, but a GW tax, clutching at straws not real science..:-)

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I remember reading somewhere that the disruption caused by snow costs the UK economy about 1 billion pounds a day. Where they got this figure from I don't know, but at that price the cost of a few hundred (a thousand?) snow blowers/ploughs/gritters plus the upkeep for several years would be made up after one big snow event.

Even if the extra equipment was only to reduce the disruption by, lets say an arbitrary 20-30% it would only take one or two snow events to make the cost worthwhile. Please let me know if I'm missing something here!

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It seems to me that there are fewer people willing to take responsibility for their own 'patch' than used to be the case when I was young in the 50s and 60s. People tend to want everything done for them ( with regard to street clearance, gritting etc ) on the strength that they 'pay their taxes' but on the other hand they complain bitterly if the state starts to do everything for them by attempting to look after their health with regard to diet, exercise, smoking etc.

I was brought up in a very small and relatively isolated rural community where, if the road became blocked with snow, as it did on occasions, the able bodied men would go out with shovels and dig it out. If they didn't it was a very long wait for the snowplough and on some occasions such as Feb 1956 or Feb 1979 digging was the only solution as the snow was far too deep for any snowplough and the local council had not invested in expensive snow clearing equipment such as snowblowers.

Where I now live, at the top of a 1:5 hill about 200yds from the road, it's a case of digging and gritting after every snowfall. No-one complains about it, we just go out and do it as it's a part of life in winter but there seems to be a different attitude in urban and suburban areas where many people are hard pushed to clear snow beyond the boundary of their own drive, and some not even that.

It doesn't take many people on a street refusing to clear snow from their own bit to put off all the people in the street from doing any clearing as the, 'why should I if they're not' attitude takes over and no-one does anything.

I can't see many local authorities committing large amounts of cash to extra snow clearing measures on the strength of a couple of colder winters, particularly when thousands of public sector workers will be losing their jobs due to budget cuts. Perhaps if we get another couple of winters similar to this within the next five years they may think again but I think it would take a major climatic change to alter the current prevailing public attitude towards personal snow clearing.

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Potentially it's a minefield, particularly when commonsense goes out of the window -

http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article3205122.ece

Your local authority is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the public highway and pavement. Under Section 41(1A) of the Highways Act 1980, the council must ensure that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice. If the local authority fails to act, you can apply to the magistrates' court under the same legislation for an order to unblock the highway within a reasonable period - although such orders are very rare indeed.

Private landowners are not obliged to clear snow or ice from the highway, even if the road or pavement passes over their land. Indeed, from a legal point of view it may be risky for private individuals to clear these areas. By sweeping snow from one part of the pavement you can create a danger in another area and if someone is injured, you will be liable for negligence or nuisance.

On your own land, it is a different matter. You owe visitors a duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to take reasonable care to ensure that they are reasonably safe. This means that if you know someone (such as the postman) is likely to walk up your garden path, and you also know that the garden path is slippery, you must take reasonable steps to clear the path of snow and grit it if necessary.

However, you should not simply brush the snow from your path on to the public pavement. It is also a public nuisance to block the pavement of the road by sweeping snow from your property on to the highway.

Your neighbours are therefore quite right to clear their own paths, but are taking a legal risk in clearing the public pavement - no matter how public-spirited their actions may seem.

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I really don't think it's worth the investment for two weeks a year.

2 weeks ? Its been 3 weeks so far and its not even 21st December.

Maybe pay farmers to throw grit from tractors on side roads.

I cant see the need for expensive equipment that seems to come out in New York every night after a snow fall (not yet any way)

Clearly having two de-icing train in for service at end of November isnt great (Didcot area)

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http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article3205122.ece

Your neighbours are therefore quite right to clear their own paths, but are taking a legal risk in clearing the public pavement - no matter how public-spirited their actions may seem.

I suppose this is a reflection of how litigous society has become in recent decades. 50 years ago very few people would have thought of taking legal action if they slipped on a section of pavement or road someone had cleared whereas these days there are some people always on the look out for such opportunities.

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2 weeks ? Its been 3 weeks so far and its not even 21st December.

3 weeks of cold but only around 4 days of major disruption

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Potentially it's a minefield, particularly when commonsense goes out of the window -

http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article3205122.ece

Your local authority is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the public highway and pavement. Under Section 41(1A) of the Highways Act 1980, the council must ensure that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice. If the local authority fails to act, you can apply to the magistrates' court under the same legislation for an order to unblock the highway within a reasonable period - although such orders are very rare indeed.

Private landowners are not obliged to clear snow or ice from the highway, even if the road or pavement passes over their land. Indeed, from a legal point of view it may be risky for private individuals to clear these areas. By sweeping snow from one part of the pavement you can create a danger in another area and if someone is injured, you will be liable for negligence or nuisance.

On your own land, it is a different matter. You owe visitors a duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to take reasonable care to ensure that they are reasonably safe. This means that if you know someone (such as the postman) is likely to walk up your garden path, and you also know that the garden path is slippery, you must take reasonable steps to clear the path of snow and grit it if necessary.

However, you should not simply brush the snow from your path on to the public pavement. It is also a public nuisance to block the pavement of the road by sweeping snow from your property on to the highway.

Your neighbours are therefore quite right to clear their own paths, but are taking a legal risk in clearing the public pavement - no matter how public-spirited their actions may seem.

Thats actually very interesting, because in the ten years of living here (classed as urban-semi urban), not once has any public footpath been gritted. To be honest i just assumed that was the residents responsibility.

In terms of the government spending more, i actually think not because i rate their performance at 5/10 and i think that the current issues are far more related to lack of manpower and efficiency than actually lacking the equipment.

What we need is people who can be called upon when the Met Office issues their advance warnings in each area who clear away the snow during and after the event on a part time basis. (Cheap and effective, think of the equivelant of a territorial snow army).

My main concern by far however is the general public, because in the 9 months it does not snow, 90% do not bother buying a pair of snow tyres and then end up winging because they could not make it up the hill and caused 10 mile tailbacks, this should be mandatory.

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Well here we are, 36-48hrs after the event and Edgehill is still like a scene from Narnia. All of yesterdays clearance work (by shovel !!) is now solid ice. No sign of a plough or grit and all the village gritbins are empty.

We'll now sit tight for the next dumping to fall, before the process is repeated. Looks like my trip to Bristol today is a non-starter.

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Reading this does make me wonder..

Never mind local authorities, perhaps this may be worth investing in as an individual as a small business on the side?

As I'm sure many other business owners large and small would pay quite a bit of money (especially at this time of year) to do what they are either too lazy or ill equipped to do themselves in order to ensure access and safety for their customers.

I'll sure be thinking about this if the next couple of winters turn out like recent ones.

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It seems to me that there are fewer people willing to take responsibility for their own 'patch' than used to be the case when I was young in the 50s and 60s. People tend to want everything done for them ( with regard to street clearance, gritting etc ) on the strength that they 'pay their taxes' but on the other hand they complain bitterly if the state starts to do everything for them by attempting to look after their health with regard to diet, exercise, smoking etc.

Although I am only 34 I can appreciate communities were, well more of community back in the day - they just got on with it. Yeah that 'pay their taxes' line gets very monotonous, yes and the whole nanny state argument will go on forever. Which is why I believe in a devolved government, give power back to the parishes and the communities in which we live so we can decide our own futures at a local level. Get rid of the stupid health and safety laws that hinder everyday people's, e.g. local residents in Hull got together to hire a JCB to clear their road of thick ice, but the council blocked them from doing so with red tape. Incredulous.

Where I now live, at the top of a 1:5 hill about 200yds from the road, it's a case of digging and gritting after every snowfall. No-one complains about it, we just go out and do it as it's a part of life in winter but there seems to be a different attitude in urban and suburban areas where many people are hard pushed to clear snow beyond the boundary of their own drive, and some not even that.

It doesn't take many people on a street refusing to clear snow from their own bit to put off all the people in the street from doing any clearing as the, 'why should I if they're not' attitude takes over and no-one does anything.

Couldn't agree more. In the suburb I live in only 5-6 households of about 30 bothered to clear their own drives that Wednesday and even less than that bothered with the road. Personally I didn't bother, it was easier for me to take the day off work, although I did help dig the old dear get her car out the drive so I didn't get off scot-free -not that she drove anywhere. :whistling:

Edit: Oops forgot about the thread topic xD As for that question, definitely not, we don't get enough snow each year to warrant any further expenditure.

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