Snow causes problems in the UK
As snow sweeps the country, the UK has coped in the way it usually does - with surprise, confusion and chaos.
Despite major snowfall sweeping down the country for the past few days, the UK has still not adequately braced itself and as a result, thousands of schools have closed, the nation's transport network has effectively shut down and millions of commuters face the prospect of not being able to get into work.
But why can't the UK deal with heavy snowfall? Why do councils continue to inadequately grit the roads? Why do buses and trains stop running at the first sign of snow coverage? In comparison, the rest of Europe often have protocols in place to deal with winter weather, but the UK's contigency plan always seems to be last minute and rushed.
One reason put forward for our apparent lack of planning has been cost: that British councils are not prepared to spend any money on things that may not happen too often. After all, snow is not overly common in the UK but when it does happen, it does so in force. This can also be applied to the public - after all, none of us have winter tyres, but in Europe, especially during the winter, they are very common. In some parts of Europe, they are even compulsory during the winter to decrease accidents on the road.
European countries also automatic gritting service standing by, but more often then not there is a scramble to get it done in time, even occasionally resulting in a lack of salt and grit. In Europe, although they can often be caught out by a surprise snow storm, if heavy snow is forecast, a network of snowploughs is deployed to keep major roads open round the clock.
Of course, the additional chaos from heavy snowfall often hits commuters the hardest, with travel networks effectively shutting down. Now, this wasn't always the way, it's only in recent years that a large number of the population have moved outside city limits opting to travel in in the morning. However, as can be seen today, the greater travelling distance can lead to delays when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
With snow forecast for the next few days and wintry weather to continue for the next couple of weeks, we can only hope that the country learns from its initial mistakes and gets winter weather operations in place as soon as possible.
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