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No point in spending to avoid snow chaos

Engineers said this week that it would be uneconomic to spend millions of pounds on measures to tackle extreme weather events like the snow which crippled much of the UK this week.

ICE director general Tom Foulkes said: "The high level of disruption we’ve seen caused by the recent snowfall shows us just how brittle our infrastructure networks are in the face of extreme events.

"It certainly would not be practical to invest millions of pounds to prepare for events, such as we’ve seen in the past few days, that only happen every 20 years or so, but what we must do is think strategically about creating some spare capacity in the system to make our networks less vulnerable to disruption," he said.

"The ICE’s current Defending Critical Infrastructure inquiry is looking at a range of relevant issues, including what level of service we should expect to have maintained and also investigating the level of disruption we can live with, given the prohibitive costs of defending against all uncertainty."

Conditions in London were so bad that much of its public transport system was out of action on Monday morning. Transport for London cancelled all buses on Monday morning and services on parts of the Underground and commuter rail lines were suspended.

The weather disrupted Eurostar services between London and France via the Channel Tunnel. National railways including the West Coast Main Line were also closed or severely disrupted.

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