Page last updated at 22:01 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Flights cancelled in heavy snow

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The police say people should only travel if it is absolutely necessary

About 270 flights were cancelled at Stansted Airport in Essex and 95 at Luton Airport in Bedfordshire on Monday because of heavy snow.

Luton Airport suspended all flights, but the runway at Stansted remained open and services were expected to improve on Tuesday.

Road traffic was disrupted on the M11 and A12 in Essex after crashes.

Train services were affected and hundreds of schools closed, with Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire worst hit.

On Monday, Ryanair cancelled all flights from Luton and Stansted from 1500 GMT while 40 Easyjet services were affected by the weather.

Improved weather

Passengers have been advised to check with their airline before setting out, although improved weather conditions expected on Tuesday should improve services.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: "The runway is still open and has been all the time.

"The case on Monday was a lot of the planes were snowbound at Birmingham, and it was about getting the planes in place at Stansted.

"On Tuesday the weather is expected to improve and we would hope to be operating a more improved timetable - nothing like the last 24 hours."

Rail operator National Express East Anglia said all routes were being "severely disrupted."

Suffolk County Council reported 180 schools and colleges closed. In Essex about 475 are shut which is more than 75% in the county.

We would hope to be operating a more improved timetable
Stansted Airport spokesman

An Essex council spokesman said schools had taken the decision to close, with the interests of the safety of children in mind.

In Norfolk, 137 schools were closed because of the weather while in Hertfordshire about 180 were closed, and in Bedfordshire students were sent home from 95.

Hertfordshire County Council warned parents there would be no school buses provided Monday or Tuesday.

More than 150 more schools were forced to shut in Buckinghamshire on Monday, and more than 100 across Cambridgeshire were also shut as heavy snow continued to fall throughout the morning.

Local radio

Eighteen schools closed in Northamptonshire.

Advice from county councils to all parents and children wanting to check what schools are open is to listen to the local radio or go to the council's website.

Lanes were closed on the M25 in Hertfordshire because of heavy snow and the Dartford Bridge crossing was shut to clear snow from the carriageway.

The Highways Agency has told drivers to delay any "non-essential travel" and a spokesman said snowfall has been "really exceptional."

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