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Opposition blasts UK govt over Heathrow closure

Economic spokesman says country totally unprepared for cold weather.
Britain is not set up to deal with cold winters (Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images).
Britain is not set up to deal with cold winters (Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images).

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RELATED: IN PICTURES: Bad weather brings UK to standstill

Britain’s opposition Labour party has blasted the UK government over Sunday's shutdown of Heathrow Airport and the wider impact of bad weather.

Passengers on Etihad and Emirates flights to Heathrow were unable to travel on Sunday, although services are expected to resume today.

Alan Johnson, the UK opposition’s economic spokesman, told Sky News that there was insufficient salt to clear roads and linked the shortage to budget cutbacks.

“It is a false economy if you think because budgets are squeezed you will cut back on salt supplies,” said Johnson.

Passengers hoping to go away on Christmas holidays have been sleeping on the floor of Heathrow Airport.

The airport re-opens on Monday (December 20) at 6.00 am UK time, but authorities caution that delays and disruptions are likely to continue, leaving stranded passengers unclear whether or not they will be able to travel before December 25.

The government has asked its chief scientific officer whether there is now evidence of an irreversible change in Britain’s weather patterns.

Britain’s winters are usually relatively mild given its latitude, but the country has now faced three severe winters in a row.

If such severe winters are now going to be the norm, Britain would need to invest heavily in technology and infrastructure to avoid the kind of disruptions currently being experienced.

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