UK Parliamentary Committee Asked To Probe Winter Transport Fiasco

Global Warming Policy Foundation

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Met Office on the hot seat. From the GWPF:

Liverpool Echo, 10 January 2011 by Ian Hernon

A LIVERPOOL MP is set to head a Parliamentary probe into this winter’s transport “fiasco.” Riverside’s Louise Ellman, as chairman of the Transport Select committee, has received official requests to launch a wide-ranging inquiry into why snowfalls up to the Christmas/New Year break crippled the rail and road system. If given the go-ahead it will focus on the coalition government’s alleged failure to respond to Met Office warnings of severe weather.

That led to weeks of turmoil with trains cancelled, motorways shut and thousands of travellers stranded in appalling weather.

Mrs Ellman has circulated complaints to committee members from all major parties and they will decide whether they merit a full-blown investigation.

She said: “The committee has not yet decided on an inquiry but it is certainly being considered.”

The demand for an inquiry was led by the all-party think tank, Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), which slammed the failures of both the Government and local authorities to prepare the transport system for the third severe winter in a row.

They said: “Lessons have to be learnt well in advance of the start of next winter so that we are much better prepared.”

The Met Office stated that it warned the Cabinet Office – in charge of emergency planning – in late October that the onset of winter would be “exceptionally cold.”

But their extreme weather warning was kept under wraps by ministers. The Cabinet Office has refused to reveal which, if any, local transport authorities, airports and utility companies were alerted.

GWPF director Benny Peiser said: “Not only is the lack of Government preparedness a cause for concern, but we wonder whether there may have been a reason – that ministers did not want to undermine preparations for the UN climate change conference in Cancun.” In a letter to Mrs Ellman, he said: “This year’s winter fiasco has severely damaged the British economy and our international reputation as a result of ill-preparedness.”

Ewan McCallum, chief metrologist at the Met Office, said an “amber” warning had been sent out as part of forward planning.

Liverpool Echo, 10 January 2011

 

See also: GWPF Letter to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 6 January 2011

London, 6 January: The Global Warming Policy Foundation has called on the House of Commons Transport Select Committee to set up a parliamentary inquiry into the winter advice the Government received by the Met Office and the renewed failure of both the Government and local authorities to prepare the UK transport system for the third severe winter in a row.

In a letter to the Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman, MP, the GWPF stresses that “Lessons have to be learned well in advance of the start of next year’s winter so that we are much better prepared if it is severe again.”

Full letter to Louise Ellman, MP

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58 Responses to UK Parliamentary Committee Asked To Probe Winter Transport Fiasco

  1. Michael says:

    Americans are not designed to be socially engineered like Europeans are. Americans were designed to be free and independant.

  2. carbon-based life form says:

    Mr. Harrabin may win a Pulitzer for his expose’ of the Met Office shenanigans. Hee hee.

  3. Yet another institution investigating itself? Don’t hold hold your breath waiting for results.

  4. kwik says:

    Will Mr. Harrabin be added to the Black-List now????

  5. Steeptown says:

    Michael. An Englishman’s home used to be his castle. Not so these days. An Englishman’s castle is now surrounded by red-tape. Red, as in the EUSSR.

  6. Robinson says:

    If given the go-ahead it will focus on the coalition government’s alleged failure to respond to Met Office warnings of severe weather.

    Why is this news? An inquiry is not constituted to discover new information, only to put existing information into a more palatable format. Surely if there’s one thing we all learned from the various CRU enquiries, it’s that bureaucracy closes ranks to protect its own.

  7. ew-3 says:

    “the House of Commons Transport Select Committee” should pay a few pounds and get its weather predictions from Piers Corbyn.

  8. David, UK says:

    Michael says:
    January 10, 2011 at 9:19 am
    Americans are not designed to be socially engineered like Europeans are. Americans were designed to be free and independant.

    @ Michael: Quite right my friend, and ditto the British. Mainland Europe, sadly, is another matter.

  9. Henry chance says:

    The House of Commons and thegubment need to face a hearing explaining why they didn’t cut off funding the fiasco years ago. The Met Office is a troll on our planet.

  10. Dave Dodd says:

    This gem from ICECAP:

    “Then we have the recent claim by the Met Office’s chief scientist, Professor Julia Slingo OBE, in an interview with Nature, that if her organisation’s forecasts have shortcomings, they could be remedied by giving it another 20 million pounds a year for better computers. As she put it, “We keep saying we need four times the computing power.” ”

    You can’t make this stuff up: Prof Slingo is appropriately named! With “four times the computing power” they can produce more of the same, four times faster! Lord, help us!

  11. James Sexton says:

    Well, I’ve a radical proposal. Prepare as if each winter will bring cold, wet, inclement weather. Then one is never caught unprepared. I know, this is some wild, unprecedented thinking I’m putting out, but the upswing would be that regardless of what the Met or anyone else stated, one would be as prepared as reasonably could be expected. Also, one wouldn’t have a need for inquiries, cover-ups, rationalizations, distortions of truth etc…

    Just a thought, but reliance upon a weather forecasting station with a dismal history seems a bit silly to me.

  12. Sun Spot says:

    @Michael says:
    January 10, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Yeah free to the extreme of anarchist ? I think social responsibility must be communal. Each person their own moral social agent turned America into a “Corporation Democracy”, me thinks you are confusing “free and independent” with subservience to the Corporation.

  13. higley7 says:

    There would be absolutely no reason for the MET Office to keep the cold winter forecast, if there is ever was one, under wraps and secret with the government except as an effort to make the Cancun Conference more successful. This in itself is totally dishonest.

    Blaming who they can for not reacting to the “secret” forecast should not take away from the fact that it was secret and that the secret ploy was part of a fraud/political agenda designed to hurt the people in many other ways beyond cold.

    The MET Office failed the people.

    More realistically, however, would be the greater likelihood that the MET Office used their useless, expensive computer to predict a warm winter, in the wrong-as-usual habit. And now they are trying to pretend that they are more accurate than history tells us. Either that or they finally have started channeling Piers Corbyn.

    Either way they fail, directly as forecasters, or indirectly as politically driven prevaricators.

  14. Ralph says:

    And its primary finding?

    Global Warming alarmism and fascism prevented any managers or councillors from investing in new or additional snow-clearing equipment. If they had done so, they would have been laughed out of their job.

    So the real perpetrators of this chaos were the Met Office and its primary cheerleaders, the BBC, the Grauniad and the Independent. I would suggests fines for all of these organisations, running into the hundreds of millions of pounds each – to teach them for meddling in politics and making Heathrow a laughing stock of the world.

    And this is quite serious for the UK, because businesses will just not come to Britain if they think the transport infrastructure is going to fail them.

    .

  15. Perry says:

    Cue another HMG committee whitewash in the style of the Phil Jones debacle. If only it could be otherwise.

  16. 1DandyTroll says:

    Weird, I always thought it was the millions of cctv units that spelled UK like East Germany, now I know it is the complete and utter disregard of the health and life of the british citizens that spells UK correctly as East Germany aka EG.

  17. latitude says:

    Michael says:
    January 10, 2011 at 9:19 am
    Americans are not designed to be socially engineered like Europeans are. Americans were designed to be free and independant.
    =========================================================
    Socialism was a huge step up for most European countries.

    For America, socialism is a huge step backwards……………

  18. Dr T G Watkins says:

    There is no-one left in the UK able to carry out an independent inquiry into anything.
    Politicians, Judges, heads of scientific institutions etc. are all infected by PC and the prevailing paradigm.
    We live in interesting, and frustrating, times.

  19. David says:

    ‘Lessons will be learnt..’
    I am SO sick of hearing that after every self-inflicted fiasco in the UK….

  20. TFN Johnson says:

    Michael (comment No 1), you yanks may be free and independent, but PLEEASE learn when to use ‘as’, and when ‘like’.

  21. Speed says:

    A LIVERPOOL MP is set to head a Parliamentary probe into this winter’s transport “fiasco.”

    Never active. Always reactive.

  22. TFN Johnson says:

    More seriously, when (long ago) I was working, and attended a great 3 day course on finance I was told that in the UK any professional advise was actionable if shown to be wrong. That was so even if someone picked up a report on the local landfill site, and acted on F Blogg’s recommendation and lost money or whatever. So the Met Office can be sued by all those who have suffered from the effects of their poor advice – car owners from damage caused by lack of salt, Ulster people whose water board spent September looking at the effects of global warming, elderly poeple breaking hips of unsalted pavements etc etc etc.

  23. Smokey says:

    TFN Johnson,

    You should pick battles that you can possibly win. Correcting American blog grammar isn’t one of them.

    You’re not the only one bothered by the results of government education. See here.

    [Warning! Bad language alert. Do not click if you're allergic to the f-word!]

  24. James Sexton says:

    Smokey says:
    January 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

    TFN Johnson,

    “You should pick battles that you can possibly win. Correcting American blog grammar isn’t one of them.

    You’re not the only one bothered by thie results of government education…..”
    =======================================================

    Smoke, that page is awesome!

    [Minor typo fixed. -mod.]

  25. John McKay says:

    The MET office, a wholly owned subsidiary of the ‘British Tax Payer Plc.’, refused to divulge its findings of severe weather in early winter to its owners, the British Tax Payer.

    Profits before people at its best.

    Jmac.

  26. Rob Potter says:

    Nice one, Smokey!

  27. Katherine says:

    TFN Johnson says:
    Michael (comment No 1), you yanks may be free and independent, but PLEEASE learn when to use ‘as’, and when ‘like’.

    Perhaps you should be the one to learn? From the Oxford English Dictionary:
    like, a., adv. (conj.), and n.

    B. adv. (quasi-prep., conj.).

    1. a. In or after the manner of; in the same manner or to the same extent as; as in the case of.

    Given the above, Michael’s use of like in “Americans are not designed to be socially engineered like Europeans are” is correct.

  28. Crispin in Toronto says:

    I agree with Ralph: if you are going to invest somewhere cold, then do so in a place where the national services are going to tell you the truth, or a reasonable facsimile of it. If you can’t depend on fair warning about air and ground transport disruptions, how on earth can you compete in a just-in-time manufacturing world?

    It does appear that Cancun’s weather was substituted in the minds at the Met office for real, punishing, British winters long they will apparently reign.

    Heathrow is the most expensive (passenger tax) in the world, why pay more for the privilege of being lied to and cheated out of a fair warning?

    Everyone from Grandma Moses to Piers Corbyn to Wooly Bear caterpillers is doing a better job than the Met Office.

  29. matt v. says:

    This latest chapter of the ”hide decline” story or the “ 2010-2011 UK winter forecast” is so humorous that not even the best comedy writers could make it up better. Can anyone imagine a simple seasonal weather forecast becoming so overblown and ridiculous as to almost become a “national security risk” if it were possibly leaked to the public. One can imagine the next phase of this “hide the decline story” where the G8 or G20 call a special world meeting to discuss the latest Met Office seasonal forecast for UK. One might hear President turn to the Prime Minister and say, “Now Mr. Prime Minister what is the latest weather forecast for UK from the Met Office? Cold you say? Not cold again? Are you sure that it is safe to share this with the other world leaders? I have asked this matter to be classified as”top secret “and only you and I and the Met OFFICE will know the facts. The global warming myth must be protected at all cost”

    All the comedy aside, the tragedy of all this is that millions of people where put into extreme hardship unnecessarily and some may have died as the result of possible inadequate warning and inadequate advance preparation. No one seemed or deemed it vital to warn the public as the first priority? Why not? How many more need to suffer in months and years ahead in UK until the message sinks in that we need to be better prepared for global cooling not global warming for the next 1-3 decades . If the last 3-4 cold[ two very extreme] winters have not convinced even the most stubborn of the possibility of extended for 10-30 years of cooling ahead, then they may have to learn this fact the hard way, but why should the rest of the people suffer because of this scientific or political stubbornness of few ?

  30. Asim says:

    Personally when I asked some colleagues at work they were completely oblivious that the MET were wrong in their prediction or at least now we have found out that they may truly have hid the cold weather during november from the public.

    They don’t see it as a big deal unfortunately but we still need to share this information, less money on pretty looking models and more on current science and weather.

  31. Northern Exposure says:

    I think I might have the answer as to why government didn’t act upon its top secret covert “hide the forecast” operation and prepare for the upcoming severe winter:

    They blew their entire year’s budget on global warming propaganda in getting the message out to the masses about drowning polar bears and starving prostitutes.

    Oh where, oh where is the Monty Python troop when you need them ??

  32. Michael says:

    @Michael says: Wrote
    January 10, 2011 at 9:19 am

    “Yeah free to the extreme of anarchist ? I think social responsibility must be communal. Each person their own moral social agent turned America into a “Corporation Democracy”, me thinks you are confusing “free and independent” with subservience to the Corporation.”

    No, not free to the “extreme” but rather, organized in an acceptable manner to all of us Americans. The US Constitution and its amendments are the law of the land. There has never been a better contract ever devised in mans history between the government and the governed. Too bad we let the globalist corporatocracy and socialists bastardize the way we are currently governed. We are beginning to reverse that trend and take our country back from the elitist thugs and global banking cartel. There are thousands of laws that need to be repealed in the process.

    P.S.
    Thanks for the grammar lessons all. Thank goodness I have a spell checker, still not perfect though.

  33. Northern Exposure says:

    Queue Monty Python song here:

    “Oh I’m a Met faculty, and I’m okay”
    “I compute all night and I sleeps all day”

  34. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:

    Weird how several million Christmas Cards show Snow along with Holly, Robins etc every year and yet, for some reason, it all comes as a surprise!
    Were they expecting it in August?
    Surely the season predicates it and it is a matter of when and not if.
    In which case, why did they not have either a plan or supplies of de-icer and rock salt?

  35. latitude says:

    Smokey says:
    January 10, 2011 at 11:09 am
    You’re not the only one bothered by the results of government education. See here.
    ==========================================================
    LOL saved!

  36. James Sexton says:

    Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:
    January 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Weird how several million Christmas Cards show Snow along with Holly, Robins etc every year and yet, for some reason, it all comes as a surprise!
    Were they expecting it in August?
    ========================================================

    Exactly, why bother with the loons at the Met or anywhere else? “I asked a climatologist and he told me snow was a thing of the past in England. So, I sold all of my snow shovels.”

    I ask, who is more egregious, the one that told me utter nonsense, or me, the one that believed the nonsense and sold my snow preparation equipment? What’s wrong with the weather over there? It actually has to audacity to snow in the winter?

  37. pat says:

    the farce continues…

    10 Jan: Daily Mail: Virgin stands alone on BAA failures as it threatens to withhold airport fees
    Virgin Atlantic has threatened to withhold airport fees from Heathrow operator BAA over its failure to cope with heavy snowfall, but has been left looking increasingly isolated as rivals failed to follow suit.
    Chief executive Steve Ridgway – understood to be furious over the length of time Heathrow remained closed – said Virgin would withhold fees paid for parking and landing aircraft until an independent inquiry led by BAA nonexecutive director Sir David Begg is completed in March….
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1345909/Virgin-stands-BAA-failures-threatens-withhold-airport-fees.html#ixzz1Afk9ptfD

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1345909/Virgin-stands-BAA-failures-threatens-withhold-airport-fees.html

  38. Lars says:

    Well, its is expensive to be prepared for winter – some thing like £1000 per car for studded winter wheels . In a country which usually has 2 days of winter per year they dont buy winter wheels. Even if the tried, England cant come up with winter tiers for 20 million cars. They dont exist. 80 million winter tiers is not produced in fortnight.
    So they can investigate all they want , it will happend again next time there is a prolonged period of snow in the U.K. as there is no economic justification to buy winter tiers for a normal year

  39. Phil. says:

    Met Office on the hot seat. From the GWPF:

    I don’t see the connection with the article:

    If given the go-ahead it will focus on the coalition government’s alleged failure to respond to Met Office warnings of severe weather.

    It would appear to be the Cabinet Office that is in the hot seat.

  40. Rhoda R says:

    Lars, there is a difference between equiping English cars for Northern Canadian conditions and letting people have a heads up that they might want to get in extra supplies or revise their travel plans or stock up on grit and other things needed to survive short but extreme conditions. Just think of all those people who were stuck in airports, on stalled trains, or in cars because the Government, in their omniscient wisdom, felt it unnecessary to pass on a critical piece of information.

  41. James Fosser says:

    Just what is this preoccupation with the UK on this web site? The UK is a third world country now. I escaped the place in the 1960s, and where I live in Australia I am surrounded by British ex-pats who have all made the same move. They are mostly professionals, so perhaps if they had stayed in Britain it would not be the basket case it is now. I was an economic emigrant as I could not find a job to feed my family despite having professional qualifications. I had thought of a change of career but then thought ‘Why shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic?” In hindsight it was the best move I ever made. Australia is fabulous.

  42. James Barker says:

    It sounds as if a major disconnect from reality is occurring. All of the “authorities” were unprepared. The stores weren’t selling shovels, salt, sleds? Or were people just not buying? The transport grids of all stripes didn’t have a clue. It’s winter, as many have pointed out. Just the possibility of cold should have been enough for some sort of preparation. You can always pack everything away for next time. The statement, No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, at least infers a plan existed.

  43. tarpon says:

    It’s really hard to push the global warming hoax, when the planet is up to their arses in snow. More popcorn, going to be quite a show.

  44. tty says:

    “Lars says:
    January 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    Well, its is expensive to be prepared for winter – some thing like £1000 per car for studded winter wheels . ”

    It shouldn’t need to be that expensive unless prices in the UK are unreasonable. Snow tires without studs would probably be enough in the UK, and two sets of tires – one winter and one summer – will last a lot longer than a single set, further decreasing the cost.
    In addition there is a much cheaper alternative if you only need the extra traction occasionally: snow chains. They are reasonably simple to install and fairly cheap (30-60 pounds for a set, in Sweden at least). Of course you are then limited to 20-30 mph, but that’s a lot better than zero.

  45. matt v. says:

    LARS
    You said

    “Well, its is expensive to be prepared for winter – some thing like £1000 per car for studded winter wheels . In a country which usually has 2 days of winter per year they dont buy winter wheels. Even if the tried, England cant come up with winter tiers for 20 million cars. They dont exist. 80 million winter tiers is not produced in fortnight.”

    I agree that snow tires are expensive .
    It depends what one calls a normal year. What was norm ten years ago may no longer apply now. If we are headed for several decades of cooler weather, like the last 2 Decembers, colder winters could come 65% of the time like they did during the last colder spell in UK [1962-1987 ]
    Decembers have already been cooling in CENTRAL ENGLAND since 2006

    year december temp[C]
    2006 6.5
    2007 4.9
    2008 3.5
    2009 3.1
    2010 -0.7

    One either adapts or faces a crisis over and over again

  46. Brian H says:

    Lars;
    tiers are layered. Tires are round.

    I note that the MET, even in its lame excuse-making, is trying to stretch “onset of winter” to imply it forecast a cold winter overall. It probably was talking about the 1st 2 or 3 weeks.

  47. carbon-based life form says:

    Sun Spot… one difference in corporate control and government control is that the government enforces its will at the point of a gun. You can quit the corporation, but you can’t quit the government. As in the Civil War in America, the government will kill you before it will let you leave.

  48. johanna says:

    Michael said:

    The US Constitution and its amendments are the law of the land. There has never been a better contract ever devised in mans history between the government and the governed.
    ———————————————————————–
    Not useful to the discussion, but a good example of the arrogance of some US citizens, which so unfailingly alienates people everywhere else in the world.

    It will be interesting to watch this one, because there are some very powerful players (the Cabinet Office, the Cabinet, and the AGW alarmists) potentially in conflict to avoid blame. No doubt everyone’s first instinct will be to sweep it under the carpet. Please don’t let it happen, UK skeptics and anyone who suffered damage because of this debacle!

  49. latitude says:

    Lars says:
    January 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    Well, its is expensive to be prepared for winter
    ===========================================
    Lars, the police, ambulances, hospitals, food, water, medicines, fuel……

    …the news reported over 30,000 people died

  50. Dodgy Geezer says:

    My guess is that reality goes like this:

    1 – Having been caught several times before, the Met Office refuses to give an ‘official’ winter prediction
    2 – When asked by journalists individual Met Office staff give their usual ‘It’ll be hot’ asides.
    3 – At some stage the Cabinet Office asked for an internal technical met report. This came with probability bands of various kinds, which can be interpreted in any way you like. It was not for publication anyway, and the Cabinet Office never used it…
    4 – When the Met Office started getting stick for the cold winter, someone claimed that one interpretation of that internal met report was that it might be cold (prob = 10%). So they DID get the forecast right….
    5 – The press decide to interpret this as a major incident…..

  51. Grey Lensman says:

    Tyres

    The classic merry go round, Was it the Met or the Cabinet or both or Mrs Snodgrass

  52. Brian H says:

    latitude says:
    January 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm
    Lars says:
    January 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm
    Well, its is expensive to be prepared for winter
    ===========================================
    Lars, the police, ambulances, hospitals, food, water, medicines, fuel……

    …the news reported over 30,000 people died

    For perspective, they thru neglect killed 10X as many as died in the 9/11 attack.

    There needs to be some hangin’ done.

  53. Philip Finck says:

    If companies want a place to invest where at least the governments are reasonably prepared for a `bad winter’, then (re)locate to Canada. At least we have the ability to quickly produce more salt and road sand as required. A bad storm means you wait 2 hours for the roads to be plowed and salted before you head out…… oh the pain.

    An the airport might shut down for a couple of hours…gasp.

  54. rbateman says:

    I wonder if the US Southeast has similar ideas about being properly advised and prepared?

  55. Patrick Davis says:

    “Lars says:
    January 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm”

    Studded tyres are illegal on public roads in the UK, so snow tyres and/or snowchains are the only alternative. Snow tyres don’t have to be top-end, expensive, types, they can be re-treads fitted with/without snowchains, or just use the chains instead. The good thing about chains is that they can be fitted/removed as and when required. This solution worked in the cold, snowy and icy winters of the 1970′s.

    I have a feeling this will, as typical with anything like this in the uk, go nowhere. There will be an inquiry and then the obligatory whitewash. You bet ya the Govn’t was informed by the Met of a cold winter. You bet ya the Govn’t withheld that information from the public, and probbaly local authorities/service providers too, going into Cancun.

  56. Zorro says:

    Something for the Northern hemisphere, including Hong Kong where I currently live, darn cold here.

  57. PhilJourdan says:

    I am not a citizen of the UK, but 2 things lead me to believe this latest is nothing more than a whitewash. The first is the original East Anglia Whitewash after the release of the emails. We saw how “investigative” those committees were (on par with our own government investigating itself – in other words useless).

    The second thing is in the details itself. Someone screwed up, and all bureaucrats are going to be in major CYA mode to make sure their head does not roll. So no one will be looking for the answer, just deflecting responsibility. In the end, the criminal will be some impotent serf that was in the wrong queue at the wrong time. And nothing will change. Next year they will be “surprised” again by the winter.

  58. A Holmes says:

    Well of course the Met Office has to keep their forecast secret and only let it be known to the ‘Top Brass’ , obviously if Jerry found out our plans for invading occupied Europe they would have their tanks waiting on the beaches .. oops sorry wrong century !!

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