Why weren't we better prepared for snow?

A business leader has questioned why the authorities were not better prepared for the first cold snap of winter, which is set to cost the local economy hundreds of thousands of pounds.

SUFFOLK: A business leader has questioned why the authorities were not better prepared for the first cold snap of winter, which is set to cost the local economy hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The combination of gridlock on major roads, including the A14 and the closure of the Port of Felixstowe, prompted by high winds, meant lengthy delays for haulage operators, representing lost business and increased fuel and labour costs.

But the disruption spanned all sectors of business, with the icy conditions making thousands of people late for work, and deterring some from even attempting the journey.

The weather also represents a set-back for hard-pressed retailers hoping for a much-needed boost in the run-up to Christmas, with the disruption to the transport system also likely to keep many shoppers at home.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, said: “We do recognise that these are very occasional events in the UK and we cannot expect local authorities to have the equipment of, say, Scandinavia as that would clearly be a disproportionate use of public money. But why is it that we continually get caught out every time we have a snowfall like this, particularly when this weather was forecast at the beginning of the week?

“That is the frustrating thing; being caught out once again and not being fully prepared is costing the business community a lot of money, in loss of man-hours and delays in goods and services being delivered on time.”