The UK Big Freeze of 2010 and the Lesson Every Business Can Learn from It!  

Gritting | Health & Safety | Snow Clearing | Weather Forcasting | 19 January

The Background:

It wouldn’t be shocking to hear that every office, every day across the UK, has a weather-related conversation; however, as you can imagine, in the AccuGrit office, our weather-related chats are probably more frequent and get very technical with stats and operational related stories of ice and snow clearing.

Recently, the hot topic that created a lengthy discussion was ‘The Big Freeze of 2010’, when temperatures across the country fell below −10 °C (14 °F), with some areas staying sub-zero by day, causing widespread snow and ice. Of course, the first comment everyone made was that no one could believe it was thirteen years ago because, for many AG team members, it still felt like yesterday as they worked during the record-breaking sub-zero temperatures 24/7, supporting clients from late November 2009 through to the end of January 2010.

Interestingly, what struck most of the team who clearly remember The Big Freeze was its significant impact on businesses. Despite the wintery weather being forecasted in advance, many organisations were unprepared and didn’t have any plans or support to make their sites safe in the case of such a weather event. Our team members recalled anxious business owners and leaders offering over-the-top fees for winter maintenance services as demand meant that waiting times for a contractor were upwards of 5 days and supplies of salt and equipment ran sparse.

The Numbers:

To put the impact into numbers, when we took to Google, we found out the RSA Insurance Group estimated that the cold weather cost £690 million per day due to people being unable to get to work or deliver goods, among other factors. Extra potholes and burst water pipes are also thought to have cost £61 million and £20 million in repairs. The secretary of State estimated that the cost of the travel disruption to the economy was £280 million per day. In addition, the cold spell was estimated to cost the UK economy £1.6 billion (Office for National Statistics) due to a decline in retail as few people ventured out to the shops.

Those are some big numbers to contemplate and would be sadly detrimental to most businesses during the current economic instability we are experiencing.

The Lesson Learned:  

Everyone hears this all the time but being prepared for snow and ice for any business in any industry is vital, as the one thing you can guarantee about British weather is that it is unpredictable from year to year. There are many reasons for having winter maintenance plans, but any business that wants to protect itself from any unexpected financial impacts should seek to secure a contractor off-season.

Firstly, securing your services in advance means you have access to them when you need them, despite broader demand. It will also ensure you have access to available stocks such as salt and equipment as you require them. Securing your services in advance will ensure you are not paying over the top for service fees and supplies as demand has increased and your costs remain stable.

How We Can Help:

We offer free, no-obligation site inspections and can help you prepare your facility for winter with a planned maintenance schedule that suits you. In addition, our pricing is transparent, and the flexibility in our contracts means you can cancel planned visits that are no longer needed – but you can be confident we will support you when you require it the most.

Contact the team here to find out more about our services or book a site visit.