A Scrooge-Like Glimpse at Christmas Future

Posted on December 31st, 2010, by Richard Yarrow

Vehcile Recovery UK winterRichard Yarrow’s opinion for www.startrescue.co.uk, providing low cost Breakdown Cover

In case you were wondering, we’re not the only ones who have had bad weather in December. The kind of snowfall that has paralysed parts of the UK is an annual event in Moscow, but the Russians are well prepared for the battle. The city has around 2,500 snow ploughs on standby throughout the winter, helping to prevent drivers getting stranded and needing to call for their car breakdown service. I doubt we have that many in the whole of the UK. But if our winters are going to stay like this, perhaps greater investment in the hardware is what’s required.

What’s most interesting about the Moscow model is they don’t just dollop the snow at the side of the road like we do. It’s collected by container lorries running behind the snow ploughs, which then transport it out of the city to one of 46 dumping points. The system has the capacity to remove 300,000 cubic metres of snow from the city each day. At these centres, the snow is melted down for treatment – to get rid of salt and de-icing chemicals – before going into the drainage system. Sticking it straight into the rivers was banned a decade ago.

I think in the west we have a perception that things aren’t very advanced in the east. But this seems like a fine system to me, and it clearly works. Moscow’s infrastructure doesn’t grind to a halt everytime there’s a bit of snow. The overland transport system works, the underground doesn’t suffer from frozen points and the schools all open as usual. The report I read said it was -18 degrees, and the only concession was the children played inside rather than outside.

I suggest we send a fact-finding delegation to Moscow ASAP. It would be money well spent. It would mean scenes like the one pictured above might be far more infrequent.

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