Snow returns causing more havoc to travellers

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CHAOS hit Scotland’s travel network again at the weekend as snow continued to fall across the country.

Thousands of air passengers faced delays and cancellations as flights were affected.

Around 300 people were left sleeping in Glasgow airport on Saturday night after being diverted from other airports.

But Transport Minister Keith Brown said that lessons had been learnt from two weeks ago.

Mr Brown was appointed after Stewart Stevenson resigned from the post.

He spoke as he visited frontline workers in Bargeddie, Lanarkshire, yesterday to see plans being put in place to cope with further wintry weather.

He said: “Last night, more than 1,000 vehicles were in operation across Scotland, gritting and clearing roads with more than 120 of those on the national network.

“A fortnight ago we faced an unprecedented set of events and there were lessons to be learned. The multi agency response team we have set up makes better, more joined up communication between agencies possible and helps us keep the travelling public better informed.

“We have put in place measures from our six point plan to help us address key pinch points we faced across the transport network, including the provision of grit supplies at key locations.

“With the whole of the UK facing travel disruption, I would urge the travelling public to follow police advice in their area and for people to check before they travel.”

Glasgow airport was open on Sunday morning but cancellations and delays were expected throughout the day.

Edinburgh airport was closed until 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon because of the adverse weather conditions.

It reopened initially for departing flights only with delays expected.

An airport spokeswoman thanked passengers for their patience.

The runway at Aberdeen Airport had to be cleared following early morning snowfalls and reopened after midday.

But, the airport suspended operations again for an hour at 2.30pm.

Passengers were also warned of knock-on problems from weather problems at Heathrow and Gatwick.

An airport spokesman said: “We appreciate that it is incredibly frustrating times for passengers but due to local snow and the Heathrow closure our operation is being considerably impacted.”

There were no flights to Heathrow from Scotland on Sunday, with limited flights to Gatwick.

Lothian and Borders Police issued renewed advice to motorists, residents and Christmas shoppers following more heavy snowfall across the force area.

A police spokesman said: “While we appreciate people will be keen to get out to the shops on the last weekend before Christmas, we are asking them to consider if their journey is absolutely necessary.

“If you feel you do have to venture out, please ensure you are equipped to deal with the conditions.

“For more specific travel information for the roads in your local area, please consult the Traffic Scotland website.”

Some Lothian bus services were also affected in the capital.

A spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Council said that priority was being given to main roads with 22 gritters, 16 mini-tractors and 32 other vehicles clearing snow.

Nearly 400 other Council staff and sub-contractors were out in the city breaking up and clearing snow and ice from carriageways and footpaths.

The severe weather has also had a serious impact on deliveries of Christmas cards and packages.

To cope with the backlog Royal Mail is planning evening deliveries to around two million homes in total across the UK this week.

This is in addition to the normal Royal Mail deliveries during the day.

Mark Higson, managing director of Royal Mail, said: “We are planning up to a total of 14,000 – weather permitting – additional delivery rounds on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening.

“We have had postmen and women on the streets for the last two Sundays in a row. Royal Mail is committed to doing everything possible to deliver letters, cards and parcels on behalf of its customers.”

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