asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to prevent a repetition of the disruption caused by severe winter weather earlier in the current year in the south west; and if he will make a statement.
During January, heavy snowfall occured in the south-west, particularly in the far southwestern tip of Cornwall. The motorway and trunk road network was kept open, with the exception of two stretches of the A30 and A46, each of which was blocked by drifts for about 24 hours.The Department already has comprehensive arrangements with highway authorities for keeping open national roads during severe weather, and it provides special snowploughs/gritters for use on motorways. These arrangements cannot guarantee that no disruption will occur. They do ensure that any such disruption is limited. The Department is more generally reviewing its arrangements with local authorities to see if any improvements are called for in the light of this winter's experience.Railways in the south-west are the responsibility of the British Railways Board. I understand that the board has identified a number of measures to deal generally with exceptionally severe weather in the light of its experience during January.