I’ve seen a lot of complaints this week about local and national government’s lack of preparedness for snow in southern England. These complaints are right: our public infrastructure is woefully unprepared for this kind of severe weather.
However, I’d like to see a bit more analysis of the cost of being prepared. To be as well prepared as Winnepeg or Moscow, or even as Edinburgh, we’d need to invest in these kind of things:
All of which would have an ongoing maintenance cost even in years when there was no snow. I don’t have a personal opinion to whether the trade-off would be worth it. I didn’t suffer any inconvenience from the weather myself, but I know that lots of people did, and I don’t want to take the attitude of I’m-all-right-Jack: I’m happy for my taxes to go to pay for improved infrastructure for other people. But I do think it would be nice to see some estimates of the actual costs.
However, the main point I want to make, is that the government’s lack of preparedness is only reflecting a wider lack of preparedness among the general population (a lack of preparedness which I share).
So if we are going to be prepared in future, it’s not just a matter we can leave to government, we all have things to do.