UK News: Parliamentary Committee Announces Inquiry Into Winter Transport Fiasco

Global Warming Policy Foundation

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The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has heeded the call by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) for an inquiry into the UK’s winter transport fiasco.

Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF Director, welcomed the decision by the Transport Committee.

He said: “We anticipate that the most important questions we raised in our letter to the Transport Select Committee on 6 January, in particular those regarding contradictory provision of weather forecasts by the Met Office, will be thoroughly scrutinised so that similar events can be avoided in the future.”

Transport Committee announces inquiry on the impact on transport of recent adverse weather conditions

Impact on transport of recent adverse weather conditions

18 January 2011

The impact of the recent cold weather on the road and rail networks in England and Wales and on the UK’s airports, including the extent to which lessons were learnt from winter 2009-10, the provision of accurate weather forecasts to transport providers in advance of the bad weather, and the recommendations of the Quarmby reviews of the resilience of England’s transport systems in 2010. 

The Committee expects to hear oral evidence on this issue in February and would welcome written evidence from those affected by the adverse weather conditions by Wednesday 2 February 2011.

Transport Committee

About Parliament: Select Committees

Notes on the submission of written evidence

It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:

Written submissions should be as short as is consistent with conveying the relevant information. As a rough guide, it is usually helpful if they can be confined to six pages or less. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. A single-page summary of the main points is sometimes helpful. The submission should be in a form suitable for monochrome photocopying.

Evidence should be submitted in Word or Rich Text format, by e-mail to transev@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail should include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. It should be absolutely clear who the submission is from, particularly whether it is on behalf of an organisation or in the name of an individual.

Once accepted by the Committee, written evidence becomes the Committee’s property and it may decide to publish it or make other public use of it. If the Committee decides to accept your contribution as evidence we will email you formally accepting it as such. An acknowledgement of formal acceptance will be sent once all formalities have been completed. You may publicise or publish your submission yourself, once you receive the formal acceptance of your evidence to the Committee. When doing so, please indicate that it has been submitted to the Committee.

Though the Committee is happy to receive copies of published material, formal submissions of evidence should be original work and not published elsewhere.

Committee staff are happy to give more detailed guidance on giving evidence to a select committee, or further advice on any aspect of the Committee’s work, by phone or e-mail.

House of Commons Transport Select Committee

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The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 24 January 2011

For further information, see also:

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30 Responses to UK News: Parliamentary Committee Announces Inquiry Into Winter Transport Fiasco

  1. John Marshall says:

    Sounds good but we have a history of such investigations which turn out to either maintain the status quo, or supply a whitewash. Look at the three investigations into Climategate. All stated the other enquiries would look at the science, none of them did and we had a whitewash in all three.
    The problem with the UK’s winter preparations is that there is no money and councils consider that deicing is a waste and real snow ploughs are not necessary because we do not have enough snow to warrant the expenditure. So 1+ mt of snow remains on the roads business stops and food is not available to customers because of the snow.

  2. Pamela Gray says:

    If I were that committee, I would be requesting records as close to the mother board as they can get. I would even ask for the ^$#@ mother board. That 3/3/4 thing is laughable and screaming at the same time.

  3. RichieP says:

    From ‘Yes, Minister’ (‘The Greasy Pole’): this refers to a government commissioned report but pretty much the same thing will apply to Select Committee Reports too.

    “How to discredit an unwelcome report:

    Stage One: Refuse to publish in the public interest saying
    1. There are security considerations.
    2. The findings could be misinterpreted.
    3. You are waiting for the results of a wider and more detailed report which is still in preparation. (If there isn’t one, commission it; this gives you even more time).

    Stage Two: Discredit the evidence you are not publishing, saying
    1. It leaves important questions unanswered.
    2. Much of the evidence is inconclusive.
    3. The figures are open to other interpretations.
    4. Certain findings are contradictory.
    5. Some of the main conclusions have been questioned. (If they haven’t, question them yourself; then they have).

    Stage Three: Undermine the recommendations. Suggested phrases:
    1. ‘Not really a basis for long term decisions’.
    2. ‘Not sufficient information on which to base a valid assessment’.
    3. ‘No reason for any fundamental rethink of existing policy’.
    4. ‘Broadly speaking, it endorses current practice’.

    Stage Four: Discredit the person who produced the report. Explain (off the record) that
    1. He is harbouring a grudge against the Department.
    2. He is a publicity seeker.
    3. He is trying to get a Knighthood/Chair/Vice Chancellorship.
    4. He used to be a consultant to a multinational.
    5. He wants to be a consultant to a multinational.”

    We already have plenty of evidence of this type of thing from the various Climategate efforts. No real reason to assume this will be different in anything but detail.

    “It is only totalitarian governments that suppress facts. In this country we simply take a democratic decision not to publish them.” (ibid.)

  4. Shevva says:

    Althought it’s been around since 2008 and pushed by several diffrent goverment quangos and think tanks.

    http://www.express.co.uk/search/petrol%20ration/

  5. Roberto says:

    Of course I would love for them all to be reasonable and do it the WUWT way. What could be wiser?

    But I wouldn’t expect this effort to be a dead loss, even if it doesn’t hang anybody the first week. It still changes the calculations of the politicians and the politically-minded workers to realize that they may have to face such inquiries themselves if they do something stupid. They could be in the headlines, too, for all the wrong reasons.

    Patience, brothers and sisters. Endure hardship and the occasional bit of paperwork. It’s all going in the right direction.

  6. Brian Johnson uk says:

    In the Surrey Hills area the local councils didn’t even repair the previous years road damage so why expect anything other than a cover up/whitewash from their parliamentary pals? Our MP – one Jeremy Hunt, is a total waste of space.

  7. RichieP says:

    Brian Johnson uk says:
    January 24, 2011 at 7:05 am
    ‘ Our MP – one Jeremy Hunt, is a total waste of space.’

    Huh, you think yours is rubbish, try mine:
    http://www.carolinelucas.com/cl/media/the-new-home-front-uk-needs-a-war-footing-on-energy-and-climate-crisis.html

  8. latitude says:

    and they don’t even realize how stupid they look…..

    They are asking the MET to do what it can not do.

    …accurately predict the weather

  9. RichieP says:

    … and before any comedian asks the question – no, I did not vote for her.

  10. Jimbo says:

    I don’t think we will see a whitewash here because unlike the Climategate Inquiries people have actually died this winter due to lack of preparedness. The economy has lost billions of pounds. People have bee highly inconvenienced.

    Now, either the inquiry finds that they were given adequate warning and the government did nothing with the information. Or that they were given inadequate information and so weren’t to blame. There are too many conflicting accounts of what the government was told.

    Average to cold does not equal extremely cold winter.

  11. Alan the Brit says:

    RichieP says:
    January 24, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Absolutely brilliant! Ticks all the boxes for me. Let’s see just how close we get to it?

  12. David says:

    I reckon what’s required is a bigger, more powerful and of course MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE computer for the met Office.
    That’ll fix the problem.

  13. Dave G says:

    Stop the funding, sue the MET for the lost lives and production, only takes 1 lawsuit to get the ball rolling. Switch to Bastardi/Corbyn, save a lot of $$

  14. Sal Minella says:

    Gotta love government, spends 10% of its time coopting what should be nongovernmental and 90% of its time investigating why it failed to execute.

  15. Robert A says:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    – Joseph Goebbels

    [snip - flame bait words]

    But the quote is otherwise useful in the context of AGW and the mechanics of propaganda, and it is the second part that best describes its use. Everyone knows the first line and forgets the other.

    “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.”

    Is this not when the AGW lie starts to become unglued in the UK? The public may take scant notice of billions spent or research studies, but it is different when roads are clogged and airports shut.

    (For “State” read: “The IPCC, the climate team and the many official government enablers and participants such as the Weather Office.”)

    “It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Indeed. And what did Climategate and all the whitewashes tell us but this?

  16. Stephen Brown says:

    Unfortunately the House of Commons Transport Select Committee is formed of Government placemen, not one of whom would ever dare to question the established Government mantra that Global Warming (or whatever fatuous nomenclature is in current fashion) is most certainly happening.

    The conclusions of the Committee can be foretold with far more accuracy than the Met Office’s weather predictions. I can guarantee that nothing of substance will emerge from this farrago of smoke-screens and mirrors. The selection of submissions to the Committee will be an object lesson in the art of Cherry Picking. Obfuscation, prevarication and circumlocution will permeate all discussion, debate will not be permitted but the Committee’s findings will be based on robust science, the prevailing conditions were unprecedented and lessons will be learned.

    Bets, anyone?

  17. Stephen Rasey says:

    A bigger computer for the Met Office? Enough GIGO.

    Just give them a Garbage Truck and shorten the cycle. It will reduce their carbon footprint, too.

  18. Kitefreak says:

    Jimbo says:
    January 24, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I don’t think we will see a whitewash here because unlike the Climategate Inquiries people have actually died this winter due to lack of preparedness. The economy has lost billions of pounds. People have bee highly inconvenienced.

    Now, either the inquiry finds that they were given adequate warning and the government did nothing with the information. Or that they were given inadequate information and so weren’t to blame. There are too many conflicting accounts of what the government was told.

    Average to cold does not equal extremely cold winter.
    ————————————–
    Oh, they’ll find a way to spin it – don’t worry!

    When an object is spun, it can be difficult to see which way is up and which way is down, which is left and which is right.

    These clowns (running the country) make me sick. All as bad as each other. Couldn’t put a cigarette paper between any of their policies. Steal our money and feed us lies.

    We’ve had a number of Iraq war inquiries and not once was the subject of Dr. David Kelly’s death raised.

    We’ve had a number of climategate inquiries and no mention of the science and whether it is sound or not.

    Inquiries mean nothing!

    Mr. Exasperated.

  19. Kitefreak says:

    Robert A says:
    January 24, 2011 at 10:27 am
    ———————————————-
    What on earth are you on about – “It is not reasonable to tie anyone to Nazi’s”?

    So, if I pointed out that IBM did the numbering/record-keeping system for the concentration camps, that’d be unreasonable then? What would be the punishment?

    What if I said that the Bush dynasty helped Hitler with money in the past:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar

    Would that be ‘unreasonable’ too.

  20. RichieP says:

    Stephen Brown says:
    January 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    ‘I can guarantee that nothing of substance will emerge from this farrago of smoke-screens and mirrors. The selection of submissions to the Committee will be an object lesson in the art of Cherry Picking. Obfuscation, prevarication and circumlocution will permeate all discussion, debate will not be permitted but the Committee’s findings will be based on robust science, the prevailing conditions were unprecedented and lessons will be learned.
    Bets, anyone?’

    No way, the dice are loaded.

  21. Northern Exposure says:

    Sounds like lip service to me.

  22. matt v. says:

    The enquiry better get at the real facts and fast. Recommendations for changes are badly needed. The type of weather that existed this December and also last winter may be the norm for UK for some time to come . It has been coming for 4 years now in a row so this no isolated event. An analysis of winter temperatures for Central England’s last cold period of 1962 -1987 shows that about two thirds of the years or about 20 of the 26 years were below the winter normal of about 4.8°C. During that time about 25 % of the winter months were below 3 C degrees which is close to the cold 2010 winter . January and February had twice as many real cold months compared to December and there were at least 5 winters where both January and February were extra cold . So back to back very cold months can and did happen and too often to be ignored as a possible future risk. There is no guarantee that the next 30 years will be like the last cold period , but in the absence of other better credible information from the climate modelers, I tend to lean on past history. If no changes are made I am afraid we will be blogging about this for years until people say enough is enough and the country finds it self in deep problems that may be bigger than last December’s.

  23. Beth Cooper says:

    Look, it’s not the fault of earnest public officials but a technical blip. Blame it on the Met Supercomputer they bought from Emerald City, (over the rainbow.) :-(

  24. Roy says:

    Shevva wrote:

    “Althought it’s been around since 2008 and pushed by several diffrent goverment quangos and think tanks.”

    DRIVER FURY AT PETROL RATION PLAN, Daily Express, January 24, 2011
    http://www.express.co.uk/search/petrol%20ration/

    When I first read that article yesterday I thought that there is absolutely no chance of the government adopting the idea because they would realise that they could kiss goodbye to their chances of being elected. On second thoughts I probably overestimated the intelligence of our political leaders and underestimated how out-of-touch most of them are.

    They would probably think that if petrol rationing were introduced then fewer people would want to venture onto the roads in bad weather and therefore there would be fewer complaints about the lack of grit and salt. At the same time they would get the Green vote.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    Is it really so hard to say “We do not know what will come, so we prepare for the 50 year event.”? (or 20 if cheap or 100 if cautious).

    The “root cause” here is a fantasy belief that they can tune their preparedness and expenditures to the weather in particular years. It is GREED in drag as economy. A false economy.

    So just say “thank you very much, you may go, your services will not be needed” to the weather non-predicting Met Office and issue a directive to prepare based on a 50 year risk threshold.

  26. Roy says:

    RichieP wrote:

    Brian Johnson uk says:
    January 24, 2011 at 7:05 am
    ‘ Our MP – one Jeremy Hunt, is a total waste of space.’

    “Huh, you think yours is rubbish, try mine:”
    http://www.carolinelucas.com/cl/media/the-new-home-front-uk-needs-a-war-footing-on-energy-and-climate-crisis.html

    Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton, seems to think the rationing system of World War II is something to be admired. It is – as something that helped Britain to get through the War and its aftermath.

    Churchill may have offered the British people “blood, toil, tears and sweat” in his first speech as Prime Minister, but he also promised victory. The full context of that phrase is worth quoting.

    “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war by sea, land and air with all our might and with all the strength God can give us … That is our policy. You ask, what is our goal? I can answer in one word. It is victory — victory, at all costs, victory in spite of all terror — victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.”

    Are the Greens promising us victory in our “war” on the climate or are they the appeasers?

  27. Brokenhockeystick says:

    The one guaranteed outcome of this investigation, which I predict with 95% certainty, is that the Met Office will be found to have failed to provide unequivocal forecasts of a cold winter (slap wrist with a wet lettuce as punishment). The recommendation, to prevent further occurrences, will be to fund the £30M for the even bigger supercomputer they have been asking for.

  28. RichieP says:

    Roy says:
    January 25, 2011 at 2:14 am
    ‘Are the Greens promising us victory in our “war” on the climate or are they the appeasers?’

    No, they require only our unconditional surrender. Let’s all remember General McAuliffe.

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