Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Edinburgh Airport reopens after heavy snow is cleared


Edinburgh Airport reopens after snow

Edinburgh Airport has reopened after being closed since the early hours of the morning as snow caused widespread disruption in the Lothians and Fife.

So far 17 flights have been cancelled, but some are now expected to resume.

Easyjet and British Airways said the effects of disruption mean many passengers will not be able to travel on Wednesday.

BAA said anyone expecting to fly should check with their airlines before they set out.

Traffic chaos has also been reported on the roads.

Forth Road Bridge officials said there had been "significant delays" on the crossing, which now has a 30mph speed restriction.

West Lothian Council was forced to close all its 96 schools on Wednesday, which was the last day of term, due to the snow conditions.

M8 near Livingston
Drivers were travelling slowly along the M8 in the snow

Schools in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and Fife were already closed for Christmas on Wednesday so were unaffected by the weather.

NHS Lothian is calling for St John's Hospital patients to call to check if their appointments have been cancelled due to some staff being unable to reach work following thick snow in Livingston.

The A1 was also closed at Thistley Cross outside Dunbar in East Lothian for at least two hours until about 0900 GMT, due to drifting snow.

Drivers diverting from the closure along coastal roads through North Berwick and Longniddry caused congestion, according to East Lothian Council.

Fife Constabulary said the downhill road south bound from Fife onto the Forth Road Bridge was "treacherous" with many cars having trouble.

The B92 Cluny to Kinglassie Road was also closed for an hour from 0630 GMT while a snowplough removed huge amounts of snow.

Two roads in Fife, the C32 Star to Kennoway and the Q38 are closed.

Fife Council said snow and ice conditions had forced it to close nine libraries and one museum in the area.

High Street in Edinburgh
Few cars were using the High Street in Edinburgh during the morning

A path has been dug into the foot-deep snow along Princes Street's pavement and all the main bus routes and roads to hospitals were gritted twice during the night.

Edinburgh City Council said there was a severe weather warning between 0545 GMT until 1000 GMT.

At least 26 gritters were out in Edinburgh using about 600 tonnes of pure rock salt in the past 24 hours and officials said they still "have plenty of salt in stock".

Police are asking people not to travel if their journey is not essential. At about 1130 GMT a recovery vehicle got stuck in Drummond Street in Edinburgh while it was trying to rescue a car.

A Penicuik resident in Midlothian said he had to dig his car out from under about 6ins of snow. He said the main roads were clear but the side streets were "treacherous".

The statue of Robert Fergusson on the High Street in Edinburgh
A snowy Robert Fergusson statue on Edinburgh's High Street

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said there had been a few bumps on the roads during the morning rush hour in the area.

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: "Since Thursday more than 3,000 tonnes of rock salt has been spread in West Lothian.

"The Met Office is advising the public not to take any journeys unless absolutely essential.

"Gritters have been deployed on all primary routes, however, due to the intensity of the snow, accumulations are still forming on the roads and driving conditions are treacherous.

"Road temperatures are expected to remain below freezing and there is a risk of widespread ice forming."

About 110 West Lothian Council staff are working on winter duties on Wednesday.

First Bus have also advised that they will only be providing a limited service in West Lothian.

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