Monday 23 October 2017

A vital lesson from big freeze

Most of us can breathe a little easier now that the worst of the snow and ice is receding. We have learned bitter lessons and many are paying the price in terms of burst pipes and flooded homes. Yet we should spare a thought and thanks for the thousands of true public servants who kept the main roads passable and drove buses and trains under extraordinary circumstances.

But one lesson appears to have eluded us so far and it now behoves us to make sure we do something about it before the next big freeze comes. Our footpaths -- frozen, snowbound and covered in slush mountains -- were a disgrace. Someone has to take responsibility. We cannot have a situation where hundreds of pedestrians are forced on to slippery roads just to make their way home or to the shops. Worse still, many of them have had to do so at night without any proper reflective accoutrements or clothing.

Even as the thaw dawned, it was apparent that the footpaths were not passable. There were residues of snow topped with water that made the surfaces potentially lethal. Pedestrians took to the roads. This is an intolerable situation and one that, unless something is done, will almost certainly be repeated before this winter is out.

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