2nd March 2018,
The last couple of days have seen bitterly cold easterly winds, which have originated over northern Russia bring the most severe snows and blizzard conditions in the last forty years. Communities have been cut-off, shops have run empty of essentials and homes have lost power across the North West of England, as elsewhere in the country. The M62, the main transpennine route from the North West to Yorkshire has ground to a halt as motorists became stranded for hours in blizzard conditions. There has also been coverage of roads such as the A628 at Woodhead Pass, in the Peak District east of Manchester being closed, and major disruption to routes in Cheshire, East Lancashire and Greater Manchester on both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada.
All well and good, but Cumbria has been by far the hardest hit over the last three days: Communities have been cut-off, people have lost electricity and many quite major routes in the county have been closed. Isolated communities have run out of basics such as bread and milk because deliveries have not got through due to the snow. Where people have been able to drive in Cumbria there were frequent mishaps on the icy roads. Yesterday (1st March ) there were one hundred incidents on the M6 near Shap (Jct. 39). Virtually nothing of this was mentioned on either ITV Granada nor BBC North West Tonight. Only two days ago did either the BBC North West or Granada give some token coverage of a few road closures and a warning from Cumbria Police for folk not to travel. I don’t think this does justice to folk who live in South Cumbria (and indeed in North Lancashire) who would like to be informed of what goes on in their own county, or just forty miles up the M6 from Lancaster. The situation has approached that of a local emergency across much of Cumbria, there are farmers who cannot get to livestock- and people living in Kirkby Lonsdale or Milnthorpe (too far south to get ITV Border) are told the roads are snowy, some roads were closed (not updated) and the Police advise you not to travel! Is that it??
Meanwhile, the severe cold snap has seen plenty of reports of homeless people freezing in Manchester and Liverpool, a thief being arrested in Greater Manchester after police followed his foot-prints in the snow and a mass of icicles at Kinder Scout in Derbyshire’s Peak District (and Derbyshire is NOT in the North West).
It really is time for both the BBC and ITV to invest more in regional news bulletins in the North West, particularly for Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man.