This country is seriously unprepared for bad weather.
For the last few years we have had one form of bad weather that has left people stranded, house bound or homeless. Areas of the country grind to a halt as roads become untraversable, either because they're submerged or due to a bad snow or windstorm. And usually it becomes a fairly prominent news story. But in this day and age I can’t help but think to myself, be it snow or rain, should we not by now anticipate and be prepared for this?
In Oxford, my hometown, many people had to be evacuated from their houses before they were flooded out and lots of people could not even be reached. These areas happen to be next to major roads which are subsequently shut, leading to gridlock all over the city. Whilst this was the worst rain in a decade, these areas are commonly flooded and it should be fairly simple to build flood barriers for the bodies of water in these areas. But nothing is done and the same thing could happen all over again next year.
Similarly every time it snows kids find themselves unable to go to school sometimes for up to a week in some cases, and some adults have to miss out on a couple day’s pay because they are stuck at home; all due to the fact that the roads are too dangerous. In the past this has led to kids missing important January exams or a household running short of money for a month. This is not a difficult problem to fix and to give credit where it is due, the roads are gritted earlier each year causing less problems, this being said we are still far behind other countries in our preparation.
In Germany it is standard practice to put winter tyres on your car every winter to aid your car in gripping the road, they don’t wait for the weather to take a bad turn, but are proactive in making sure they’re minimal disturbances to the daily routine. The Netherlands has flood dikes, water powered windmills, canals and more to ease the pressure if major water sources such as The Rhine burst their banks. It’s this kind of forward thinking that is lacking in the UK as it’s only recently that serious thought is being put in to safeguarding against the weather and upgrading defences if they exist.
England has no frequent natural disasters. We are not near an active volcano, we have no monsoons, tornados are rare and we only see the very back end of hurricanes. This has led to us being passive as a nation when it comes to weatherproofing, but if these floods and winds become more frequent I can’t help but think we are heading for the day where the country finds itself in trouble, in circumstance that could have been easily prevented.