Travellers need true grit in ice-bound Britain

Travelling Britons braved fresh icy blasts today as the severe weather did its best to wreck the country's transport links.

With councils running low on salt stocks to treat roads, travellers had to show true grit just to complete the simplest of journeys.



Transport Secretary Lord Adonis told his Cabinet colleagues that salting of motorway hard shoulders was being ended to preserve stocks for other areas.



Road conditions on major routes improved today, but many side roads remained treacherous.



Eurostar was just one of the train companies operating a reduced service today, prompting Europe Minister Chris Bryant to complain on the Twitter website about the Channel Tunnel company.



Once again, a series of broken-down trains added to the problems of rail passengers already having to cope with fewer-than-normal trains, with a breakdown at Birmingham causing delays of up to an hour.



Major airports remained open, but British Airways and easyJet were among carriers that had to cancel flights.



Flight cancellations at Gatwick - where more than 100 flights were axed yesterday - were down to 17 today, but passengers at the West Sussex airport were scornful of the UK's ability to cope with an extreme winter.



David Spencer, 49, from Guildford, Surrey, who was trying to set off on a week's holiday to Spain, said: "It's disgraceful that, with the first snowflake, the country goes to pot."



At Heathrow's Terminal 5 overnight, British Airways asked passengers on some arriving flights to leave the airport without waiting for their luggage, with the bags being sent on to them later.



BA said the problem had been due to the knock-on effect of flight delays plus icy conditions but that the baggage situation was back to normal for daytime arrivals today.



The Highways Agency, which is responsible for England's motorways and major A roads, said that it would continue to salt hard shoulders on the sections of the M6 and M42 on which road users are allowed to drive at busy times.



Local authorities said they were revising their salt plans to ensure the most important roads were gritted.



Harrow council in north west London said it had ordered sufficient supplies of salt but they had simply not been delivered. In Brighton and Hove, parking attendants were diverted from handing out tickets to help shovel snow and grit pavements.



In Cumbria, police were informed of a member of the public who emptied a grit bin and then tried to sell the contents to other residents.



For the first time for some days, no major roads in England were closed today, although broken-down vehicles caused lane closures and delays.



The RAC said its patrol teams had attended 5,000 call-outs by midday today and 250,000 since the cold weather began on December 18.



It said it was receiving around 1,500 calls an hour - more than twice as many as normal. The busiest areas today were Manchester and the Wirral, Scotland, the West Midlands and Wales.



The AA said it had dealt with 340,000 breakdowns since the evening of December 17 - more than double the normal amount over this period.



AA president Edmund King said: "In our entire history we have never been as busy as we have been over the last few weeks."



On the railways, some services were cancelled and, in places, road conditions were too poor for bus replacement services to run.



The Association of Train Operating Companies said that, up to 1pm, a total of 62% of the trains due to run under the revised schedules today had been on time, with 31% late and 7% cancelled.



Mr Bryant, who was caught up in a Eurostar delay, posted on the Twitter website: "I am rapidly developing a very severe hatred of Eurostar as we are travelling at about a mile a year."

Suggested Topics
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone