UK

Fog alert in southern England: Heathrow cancels 100 flights

A plane on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport Image copyright PA
Image caption Flights have been affected at Heathrow Airport

Flights have been cancelled at London airports because of freezing fog covering much of southern England.

About 100 flights have been affected at Heathrow; London City has cancelled 88 flights; and Gatwick has cancelled nine flights and warned delays are likely.

A total of 39 flights have been cancelled at Southampton airport.

A Met Office fog warning for much of southern England has now been lifted, but forecasters say there could be further disruption on Tuesday morning.

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Media captionWatch: Freezing fog covers London landmarks
Image copyright Ros Wharf / Weather Watchers
Image caption Foggy conditions along the River Thames in Vauxhall, London

The cold weather has also meant parts of the UK are suffering from high levels of air pollution, which is expected to continue into Tuesday, as pollutants fail to disperse in the still conditions.

Met Office forecaster Emma Boorman said it was likely patches of dense fog would re-form overnight to cause "potential disruption" in parts of England and Wales, particularly in the south.

On Monday morning, Heathrow, London City, Gatwick, Southampton and Stansted airports - where visibility has been at 100m - all warned passengers to check flight updates before travelling.

Heathrow said the effect of fog on flights there could be more noticeable than at most airports because it operates at 98% capacity, meaning it is harder to space flights out.

Image copyright @HeathrowAirport

Stansted has been taking some diverted flights from London City Airport, with a spokesman saying seven had landed so far, but passengers have been warned of further disruption due to the fog.

Flights to Amsterdam were the worst-affected due to fog at Schiphol Airport.

Liverpool Airport also said fog and low visibility had affected them on Monday morning, despite not being covered by the weather warning.

On Sunday evening, freezing fog led to two flights bound for Southampton having to divert to Bristol and Bournemouth airports, but Luton has not been affected.

Image copyright Maia / Weather Watchers
Image caption The Met Office says temperatures will struggle to top 0C in the worst affected areas on Monday

Forecasters said temperatures would struggle to top 0C (32F) in the worst-affected areas on Monday, although it was a rise from the -8C (17.6F) recorded in parts of Hampshire and Essex on Sunday morning.

Cheshire Police tweeted a photo of Runcorn Widnes bridge and advised motorists to drive with care with their headlights on.

Image copyright @cheshirepolice
Image caption Cheshire Police tweeted a photo of cars in foggy conditions travelling along a bridge

Driving in fog

Image copyright Nilesh / Weather Watchers
Image caption Fog is affecting parts of southern England including Crawley in West Sussex

Motoring organisation the AA advises:

  • According to the Highway Code, you must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced - generally when you cannot see for more than 100m (328ft), or the length of a football pitch
  • There's no obligation to use fog lights but if your car is involved in an accident and they weren't on, then your insurer may ask questions
  • Generally it's better to be safe than sorry, so use fog lights when appropriate, but don't keep switching them on and off - this can be a distraction to other drivers so wait for a consistent improvement in visibility before turning them off
  • Be able to stop within the distance you can see clearly

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