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Let it Snow!

Planes grounded, airports shut, chaos on the roads: Tom Heap investigates ways to keep Britain moving if there is another harsh winter, and asks if future winters will be as bad.

With planes grounded, airports shut and chaos on the roads, last winter was the harshest in a century.

Temperatures plummeted to minus 22 degrees in Scotland and the whole of the UK was covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice for weeks. Britain was brought to a standstill.

It is estimated that the cold weather cost the economy around £700 million; energy demand rocketed with demand for gas breaking all records; 60,000 miles of roads were gritted; thousands of schools were shut.

Weather forecasters are unsure if the last two winters are the shape of things to come, or whether the country suffered freak conditions.

With winter 2011 approaching, Tom Heap finds out what preparations are being made to ensure the country's transport infrastructure, power stations, emergency services and food retailers are ready for another big freeze.

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

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30 minutes

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