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Sunday 21 September 2014

Snow brings more road, rail and air travel chaos to UK

Dean Grey in London

Published 21/01/2013 | 05:00

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Shivering Britain was blanketed in snow again yesterday as winter's grip got tighter and brought more travel misery to the roads, rail and air.

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Heathrow announced its flight schedule today will be reduced by 10pc, about 130 flights.

It said the decision was taken to minimise expected disruption caused by low visibility, which forecasts show is highly probable.

Details of which flights will be cancelled will be announced by airlines when they have finalised their schedules.

Passengers due to fly were urged to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.

The decision to reduce the flight schedule was made by a group called the Heathrow Airport Demand and Capacity Balancing Group.

It comprises representatives from all groups associated with scheduling flights in and out of the airport so that consensus can be reached over the revised schedule.

Hazardous

Across the UK snow fell and combined with layers of ice to create hazardous motoring conditions.

Train operators implemented reduced services which are set to continue today.

Yesterday, aviation bosses at Heathrow cancelled 260 flights, 20pc of Heathrow's usual business. A spokesman said: "It is possible that weather conditions at other European airports will increase the number of cancellations.

"Passengers due to travel today are urged to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport."

When there is low visibility, more space has to be left between aircraft.

"Many airports have plenty of spare runway capacity so aircraft can be spaced out more during low visibility without causing delays and cancellations.

"Because Heathrow operates at almost full capacity, there is simply no room to reschedule the delayed flights," he added.

Edmund King, AA president, said: "Snow is still falling heavily in Hertfordshire, Kent, the West Midlands and in a band across the south-east, spreading north and east.

"Main roads and motorways are coping quite well with the snow so far.

"However, many drivers can't get off their local residential streets and cul-de-sacs."

Meanwhile, a man is in hospital with broken bones in his face after he was racially attacked when he confronted a group of young thugs throwing snowballs at him.

Kent Police said the 33-year-old was out walking with his wife (31) in Sheepfold Lane, Park Farm, Ashford, at about 2.30pm yesterday when the unprovoked attack occurred.

Four teenage boys aged between 16 and 17 have been arrested.

A police spokesman said: "A 33-year-old man was out for a walk with his wife when a group of young people started throwing snowballs at them.

"When he asked them to stop, they started racially abusing him and then viciously assaulted him.

"He has been taken to hospital with facial injuries. His wife was also assaulted in the incident and received minor injuries."

Irish Independent

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