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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Snow gridlock 'costs £1.2bn a day'

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Lorries parked on the hard shoulder of the M25 motorway in Reigate, Surrey

Transport industry criticism of the efforts to keep Britain “open” during the cold spell has grown as it emerged the gridlock could cost the economy as much as £1.2 billion a day.

The AA said there had been a failure to deal with the problem of jammed motorways and major roads.

And breakdown service Green Flag said local authorities had not spread enough grit on minor roads.

With Gatwick airport shut all day, David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flight Global magazine, said transport infrastructure suffered in the winter in Britain as there was not enough bad weather to justify spending “big bucks” on measures to counter it.

Train companies said they had been “working flat out” to get as many trains running as possible. But a number of services had to be axed and there were delays to others.

The £1.2 billion estimation of the hit the economy would take daily from the gridlock came from insurance company RSA.

RSA director David Greaves said: “This cold front couldn’t come at a worse time for the UK.

“Bad weather in the run up to Christmas will have a major impact on the UK’s economy and could lead to significant losses for already struggling businesses.”

He went on: “We’re due to see a rush of sales in December ahead of the VAT rise in the new year, and many retailers are relying on these sales to see them through the traditionally quiet post-January sales period.”

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