By Denna Bowman
Motorists are being urged to follow the example of the Scandanavians and prepare their cars to cope with the snow which has already begun to blight the UK roads this winter.
Kent County Council is calling on drivers to equip their cars with snow tyres to ensure their vehicles can cope with extreme conditions, rather than just relying on authorities to clear every road.
The warning from Paul Carter, leader of KCC, comes a week after Kent – and other parts of the UK – were hit with heavy snow, causing chaos on the roads.
Despite gritters and snow ploughs working through the day and night to clear the roads, hundreds of motorists were unable to travel, and those who did were faced with treacherous conditions, leaving some stranded in their vehicles.
However, Mr Carter stressed that the onus should not just be on the council to keep Kent on the move.
He said it would cost £10m-£15m to buy equipment to improve the council’s ability to clear the roads – money that would have to be taken from other budgets.
“Where would that get us?” he said on the BBC’s Inside Out programme.
“Is this weather going to continue or could we be buying a lot of plant and machinery that is not going to be used for the next three, four or five years?
“Where is global warming going in the South East of England? Who knows? We don’t know.”
Cllr Carter said the public needed to ensure their cars were better equipped.
He said: “The whole of Scandinavia is covered in snow every winter, and we’ve got to learn from the Scandinavians if we’re going to carry on having seriously snowy winters.
“They would have a spare set of wheels with snow tyres on and when the weather gets unpleasant they would put their snow wheels with snow tyres on.
“What the public can’t expect is to have clear black tarmac on 5,000 miles of Kent roads.
“It’s a sheer impossibility. No matter how much money you throw at it.
“I believe we’ve got to approach it from the other end and make sure our cars are better equipped to drive on snow.”