Jamie Greene: Scotland must learn weather resilience of other nations

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The “Beast from the East” is upon us. Trains across the Central Belt were cancelled, people stranded on roads, communities cut off, schools closed and employees were sent home from work early.

In the Scottish Parliament there was even consideration of halting parliamentary business for the day – staff were sent home but MSPs were rightfully asked to remain and do what they are paid to do.

This isn’t a one-off event. It seems every time snow hits these isles the country grinds to a halt.

It is curious to those who come from countries which are blighted by this thing called winter too. They mock our panic buying of bread and bunker attitudes when winter hits us.

The point they perhaps fail to note is that because this happens so seldom to this degree, dangerous things do happen.

So in that respect it is right for authorities to put out warnings.

Let us look at Toronto, or Trondheim though. How on earth do their public services survive or operate?

Oslo experiences up to 58 inches of snowfall yet life goes on – in parts of Ontario they average 88 inches. On a recent trip to Montreal it snowed for seven days solid and reached minus 28 whilst I was there. Your eyes don’t water, they create icicles.

Perhaps it is time for a more in-depth look at the resilience of these countries. Can we learn lessons from them? Probably.

Of course no government controls the weather, but we can be ready for it. Readiness is they key here.

I believe the Scottish transport minister was sincere in his preparedness approach and ambition, but nonetheless the country has still ground to halt in weather that many other countries would be able to deal with.

It’s worth a quiet and academic re-think about how we as a country future proof access to education, health services, our transport, rail and road networks when such Beasts arrive.

l Jamie Greene is the Scottish Conservative transport spokesman