Snowed-in Brits left on ice as foxy French stir the grit

23 Dec

Regular readers of my rants will know exactly how I feel about the pathetic British mentality that anything thought up by foreigners can’t be any good.

When will we ever accept that theold Empire is dead and buried? And has been so for the last 50 years, even if the Beatles did rule the world for a while.

The reality of the 21st century  is that the entrepreneurial wheels have dropped off in the UK and that the Europeans have come up with a lot we can learn from. OK, they have no idea how to run their economies – but there again our lot are also a load of bankers.

I’ve written before about Spain’s clever idea of filter lanes in the centre of main roads to allow traffic on side roads to ease onto main carriageways with the minimum of disruption.

Well, I’ve now discovered that the French (and I bet they are not the only ones) have mastered the art of clearing ALL roads of snow and ice in the current arctic conditions with no more grit than the poverty-screaming British have.

They simply grit the SIDE roads – and leave local residents’ cars to drag it onto the main roads, where the flood of  heavy traffic melts away the residue.

I was told about the French idea last week by a Manchester taxi driver, whose wife is une femme francaise.
And he assured me: ”The idea works, believe me. I’ve been there and seen it.”

My local council in Bury, Lancashire took pride in announcing in their ‘Our Voice’ magazine that they had prepared for another bad winter by putting aside an extra 500 tonnes of salt plus 300 salt bins after being caught short by the bitter freeze-up 12 months ago.

But what did they do to make the borough’s snowbound pavements usable by the elderly and handicapped – surely a far more important issue? The answer is absolutely zilch!

And spread any grit, salt or whatever on the side roads? Not likely. My street, a leafy cul-de-sac (the picture was taken from a  bedroom window)  is on a gradient that makes it impossible for those at the top to access their homes by car when we are snowed up – unless they have a four-wheel drive vehicle. And the chances of safely negotiating the two streets between us and the main road diminish in proportion to the depth of snow.

I’d never really thought about the French idea before but it would certainly be  a godsend in my locality (on my increasingly rarer visits to the UK, that is). The traffic is so heavy on the main A56  Manchester-Bury road that it would take an avalanche to cause any major problem, even without gritting.

And dithering dodderers like myself wouldn’t have to spend days at home afraid to go out in case we fall over and break our necks.

One Response to “Snowed-in Brits left on ice as foxy French stir the grit”

  1. foxbat December 28, 2010 at 3:10 am #

    And just how are they going to put in this undersurface heating? It would mean digging up the runways. Runways on average are three feet thick. Gatwick, 1 runway, 12000 feet long. Heathrow 2 runways each 12000 feet long. It would involve closing the airports for probably around a year and that’s just the runways…what about the taxiways and parking stands..? the roads for the vehicular traffic involved in aircraft servicing..? Sorry but digging up an entire airport is a non starter.

    The runways aren’t the problem. They are easily cleared its all the other elements of the infrastructure. The costs involved are out of all proportion to the benefits. Just for information all the major European airports are affected not just the UK.

    Quite frankly anyone who turns up at a snowbound airport, knowing it to be subject to substantial delays deserves to get stuck. Have they never heard of telephones? Or websites…the message from all airport operators and airlines is contact the airport /airline before starting out.

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