Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

UK faces further snow disruption

Snow on Tan Hill Inn, near Reeth, North Yorkshire
Some hilly areas will see up to 12in (30cm) of snow overnight

Parts of the UK face more disruption due to snow, as local councils say they are running low on gritting salt.

Heavy falls are forecast in central and northern Scotland, with snow due in the West Country, the Midlands and parts of Wales and northern East Anglia.

But London and south-east England are expected to escape further heavy snow, days after road networks and the transport system were badly affected.

Councils have said they may struggle to grit roads affected by the snow.

Thousands of schools are having to decide whether to open on Thursday.

Most of the 6,000 schools closed on Tuesday reopened on Wednesday in the wake of criticism of the scale of the closures.

About 200 remained shut in Wales, while smaller numbers of pupils in areas including Cornwall and the West Midlands also stayed at home.

The Met Office said snowfalls would move up from the south during the early hours of Thursday, continuing through the day and disrupting travel.

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Many areas could expect a dusting of between an inch and two inches (2 to 5cm) overnight, but in some hilly areas in the Midlands and Wales there could be as much as 12in (30cm) of snow, the BBC Weather Centre said.

Meanwhile a 16-year-old girl died after a sledging accident near Sheffield on Tuesday.

Francesca Anobile, of Mosborough, Sheffield, was among four girls hurt at Rother Valley Country Park on Tuesday afternoon.

They had been using an improvised metal sledge which is understood to have gone through a barbed wire fence.

Thursday will see more rain, sleet and snow heading south, the BBC Weather Centre's Matt Taylor said.

He said wintry weather would continue into the weekend, but there was still uncertainty about how much would fall and where.

As concerns grow about shortages of gritting salt with ongoing snowy weather, some councils have said they may have to cut back gritting.

  • Warwickshire County Council has said it will not grit any more roads apart from the 33 currently being gritted because of low stocks
  • Worcestershire County Council has said its supplies may run out after rationing
  • Hertfordshire County Council, said it is looking for more salt from abroad to replenish diminishing stocks because an order from its usual supplier had been "rationed"
  • Gloucestershire Highways said its gritting programme would be cut in half because of dwindling stocks and will now only grit A roads
  • Wiltshire County Council said it had used 7,000 tonnes of grit already and was saving its remaining 7,000 tonnes for the weekend
  • Staffordshire and Stoke councils are also said to be low on stocks of gritting salt

One salt supplier, Cleveland Potash Limited in Saltburn, Cleveland, told the BBC it had stepped up salt mining and planned to import 40,000 tonnes of salt from a mine in Spain.

The Highways Agency is continuing to advise drivers to take extreme care and not to travel in the worst affected areas unless it is essential.

A woman pushing a pram in Aviemore, Scotland

On Tuesday, 578 schools were closed in Wales, 450 in Hampshire, 428 in Birmingham and 400 in Essex.

Other authorities including East Sussex, West Sussex, Somerset, East Staffordshire, Dudley, and Kent also told children to stay away.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said decisions to shut schools had been taken based on the forecast conditions.

Mr Balls said he understood the frustration of working parents but believed many would have welcomed an early decision on school closures.

'Good service'

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc)had said all operators should be running a normal, full-time service by Wednesday.

Most bus routes in London are also now operating as normal, although a few routes remain curtailed because of icy roads.

A Transport for London spokeswoman said gritters had been out in a bid to keep the city's major roads moving.

However, three MPs have tabled a Commons motion accusing London Mayor Boris Johnson of "shamefully" allowing the city to be "shut down so easily" after buses were taken off the roads on Monday.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Sky News Snow Rescue For Motorists - 6 hrs ago
Yorkshire Post Latest weather and traffic info for Thursday night MORE snow was falling in Yorkshire this morning amid warnings that some councils faced dwindling salt supplies to help keep traffic moving. - 8 hrs ago
Oxford Mail BIG FREEZE: In the UK - 9 hrs ago
The Sun Oh snow - not again - 9 hrs ago
ITV.com More disruption as salt runs low - 20 hrs ago



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