How to prepare for snowfall in the UK: S'no'w Problem!


S'no'w Problem!


Only in the UK is the news of snow met with both excitement and dread. Schools are closed, flights cancelled; the entire country grinds to a halt. A country known for its bad weather isn't prepared for just that. This past month saw the Beast from the East (and the mini Beast) transform the country into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The streets were deserted, offices abandoned, and bread and milk could be purchased on the black market for a small fortune. Meanwhile, in mainland Europe, life continued as normal. What are we doing wrong, and how can we be better prepared for snowfall next winter?

I've lived in Scotland for over four years now. Every year it has snowed, and every year people are SURPRISED. Less than three months ago the Army was put on standby due to the weather. Unlike its European neighbours, the UK seems to be wildly unprepared for snowy conditions and the measures in place are reactive rather than pre-emptive.

Services in the UK aren't prepared for extreme weather. In Germany, fleets of snowmobiles are sent out to remove the snow from the country's roads and footpaths. I know the UK has snowploughs, but I've not seen one the entire time I've lived here. Each year the snow is left on the road, where it either melts or freezes over (in Glasgow, last week it was the latter). If we're lucky, grit and salt will be sprinkled over the streets once the snow has settled, rather than salting and gritting the roads before snowfall. If we implemented preventative measures, perhaps the effects of last week's weather wouldn't have been as severe.

In other European countries, like Switzerland, it is a legal requirement to fit your car with winter tyres. These tyres are made from a softer rubber which provides better grip in colder temperatures. It seems to be common belief that winter tyres are only useful in snowy conditions, but they're actually designed to be used in wet and dry conditions. If the UK made winter tyres a legal requirement, perhaps we wouldn't see drivers stranded on motorways.

The Beast from the East and the disruption it caused reportedly cost the country £1 billion a day. Would it be worth investing in additional snow-tackling methods to prevent nationwide disruption?

Lizzie*no longer with the company*

I joined the Glasgow team in October 2017. Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland with my family at 13 (see: Heidi). I then moved to Scotland for university in 2013 and now, having graduated with an MA(Hons) in Sociology from Glasgow University, am excited to pursue a career in recruitment at Mattinson Partnership. I'll be covering all environmental, planning and engineering roles across Scotland, Ireland and the North of England. In my spare time, you'll find me exploring Glasgow, spending time with friends or watching Gilmore Girls reruns.


Back to blog
Log In.

Apply now:


Please note: we only accept .doc, .docx and .pdf files

Refer A Friend:


London Wildlife Trust.

We are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level in Wild Workdays by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! We also run multiple interactive workshops, providing their conservation trainees with invaluable career advice and insights into the environmental sector to prepare them for employment. Most recently, we worked with young people taking part in their Keeping it Wild programme, which engages young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in nature conservation.

Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.

Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!

Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.

Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.