Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Anger Grows At Failure To Prevent Traffic Chaos

#rdgnews - Continued heavy snowfall throughout yesterday caused more problems on roads in the area.

Transport has become treacherous as roads suffered gridlock and buses struggling on ice in the freezing conditions, while some delays were noted on the railways.

South Central Ambulance Service reported a 70% increase in calls as the Chilterns and North Downs were among the heaviest hit areas in the country, while the AA reported it had responded to almost three times the number of call outs and spokespeople urged the public not to place extra strain on overstretched services.

Even Royal Berkshire Hospital closed its' doors to non-emergencies as 273 admissions were made for weather-related injuries (such as sprains and fractures).

BBC reports that "extreme caution" has been advised when travelling.

RBC is clearly also suffering from a number of staff who were unable to make the journey into work as the authority issued a two-line statement telling people not to travel unless 'absolutely necessary'.

West Berkshire reports that the household waste recycling centre is closed and gritting supplies are available to keep routes open, but spokesman Phil Spray explained it is council policy to concentrate resources in areas of higher usage.

North of the river in more hilly territory Chiltern District Council has suspended waste collection until after the holidays.

Meanwhile Libdems have upped the stakes as conditions start to have an effect on services.

Cllr Benson is shocked by the deterioration of conditions and has called for a review into Reading's emergency response capabilities.

Over in Bracknell, Dazmando describes a situation which is hardly any better.

Cllr Warren Swaine notes the irony how "winter sneaks up and catches up catches everyone unawares" - it's almost like the authorities need a direct advance warning of a specific threat to be prepared!

But Conservative Cllr Richard Willis doesn't think any serious questions need asking - he says today's unexpected snows just caught the local highways team 'on the hop'.

Wokingham MP John Redwood disagrees - he calls the situation 'pathetic' and says he will be asking questions of the council and Highways Agency.

Labour PPC George Davidson says this is an interesting position that Mr Redwood is attacking Wokingham's tory-run council, while he is defending it...

However the Baglady notes the problems were caused by the snow falling on ice which had lain in place for several days and asks 'Where were the gritters? The snow ploughs?'

For a look at the severity of some of the problems tinnion's rdg photo blog gives a view of some of the misery.

Will Hughes sardonically describes scenes of carnage (thanks for the pic), while Emma marvels at the spirit of resilience as she was snowed in her office in Three Mile Cross as 'Better than the Blitz' (she should really work in PR, oh, wait...)


Update: Maxwell Kusi Obodum reports Reading Borough Council has 'ample' stocks of grit. Gritters spread 125 tonnes last night, according to council spokesperson Sarah Bishton, but were hampered by the volume of abandoned cars.

Meanwhile Natalie Slater describes how two public refuge centres were set up in the Oracle shopping centre, as a joint statement was issued by TV Police and RBC advising drivers not to travel where possible and not to abandon cars - seven hours after the snows started!

Elsewhere Mike McNamara is glad winter snow is only an occasional event - he'd hate to think what would happen if it was more frequent!

Pete simply wishes against a 'White Christmas' - quite forcefully!


Yesterday: Commuters Grit Teeth As Weather Woes Grip Region


  1. Where does Richard Willis say no serious questions need to be asked? Where?

  2. Hi JB, he doesn't say that and I didn't claim he did. Please can you point me to where he does say what questions should be asked?

  3. Every weather channel and web page forecasted the snow at least 2 days prior to the un-expected snow fall. What a complete apathetic approach towards the motorist who dares to use their car for going to and from work.

    If only we had relied upon public transport then my day would have been complete! Reading Buses pulled their service ASAP if the gritters had got out when the buses came in then some of the mayhem could have been avoided.

    Reading highways agency caught on the hop yet again nasty stuff this snow!!
    Six hours to drive six miles probably doesn't sound unreasonable to the Highways Agency.

  4. It took my dad 12 hours to get back from Basingstoke to Reading. Luckily there were kind people walking up and down the cars handing out tea and biscuits.

    Only took me 1 1/2 hours to get from work in center of Reading to home in Tilehurst, but there was no chance i was risking the walk again today as the ice has got thicker and i have t walk up/down hills!

    I don't buy the idea that the highways agency were caught out by the snow, we all knew it was coming, and even if they didn't, the snow we have had over the last week should have ensured that all main commuter roads (and main pathways) were gritted anyway.

  5. I'm sorry, but you are quite clear.

    "But Conservative Cllr Richard Willis doesn't think any serious questions need asking"

    Where does he say no serious questions need asking? Where?


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