Cost of big freeze

MORE than �1m was spent gritting Suffolk's roads during the recent cold snap - with the county's economy expected to have lost out on millions of pounds.

Anthony Bond

MORE than �1m was spent gritting Suffolk's roads during the recent cold snap - with the county's economy expected to have lost out on millions of pounds.

Suffolk County Council spent a total of �1.15m gritting the county's roads between December 17 and January 11.

This involved more than 18,000 tonnes of salt and took the 115 drivers 7,500 hours. In total 101,272 miles of road was gritted.

As well as this, it is thought that Suffolk's economy lost out on millions of pounds with people not able to travel to work due to poor road conditions, which also resulted in deliveries not being made to some businesses.

Many people were also forced to stay at home and look after children whose schools were closed.

Most Read

Suffolk's Chamber of Commerce told the EADT that the weather had had a “big financial impact” on the county's business performance, particularly in the east.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “The impact of winter weather on business had varied around the county - with some areas, particularly the east of the county, being far worse hit than others. That said our members were reporting that their business and their employees responded with characteristic common sense. Therefore whilst this has clearly had a big financial impact on business trading performance across the county, by way of lost staff hours, delayed deliveries, higher energy costs etc, of the three-quarters of businesses in the survey who said their activities were disrupted, they also reported relatively few absences, with high numbers of staff working from home. Taken together, business flexibility and employee diligence limited the economic impact of the latest cold snap.”

Bruce Provan, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for skills and economic development, said he had not been told of any specific problems from businesses in the county due to the weather, but he said: “I can only assume that it has had some impact with people less willing to go in shops and restaurants and pubs.”

Councillor Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, yesterday thanked staff, volunteers and organisations for their efforts during the poor weather.

He said: “I really want to take this opportunity to thank everyone, particularly those on the front line and those that support the front line, for the wonderful job they have all done during this very cold spell.

“Whether it be the gritting teams who have kept our roads opened and our county running, whether it be all those who have made unscheduled visits to our customers, to ensure that they are well and safe, irrespective of whether they were at home or in residential care. There will be others who have gone that extra mile to ensure our services have been delivered.

“To everyone, please accept my heartfelt thanks on behalf of all elected members.”