S'no Problem!

 

S'no 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?

1520846762308jpg--is the beast from the east set to come back for st patrick s dayI'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?


LizzieI 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.

efr@mattpart.com

 

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