Time off school but play ends in tears

ABOUT 80,000 children were given the day off yesterdayas ice and snow led to the closure of over 200 schools across Essex.Some schools were shut due to headteachers' fears over possible legal action should pupils have accidents in icy playgrounds.

ABOUT 80,000 children were given the day off yesterdayas ice and snow led to the closure of over 200 schools across Essex.

Some schools were shut due to headteachers' fears over possible legal action should pupils have accidents in icy playgrounds.

The decision to close schools is taken by the headteacher in conjunction with the chairman of governors who have a knowledge of local conditions around the school.

Essex County Council spokesman Mike Barnett said: “Our expectation is they should remain open if at all possible.”


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“Schools were closed for a variety of reasons, either due to difficulties for staff travelling in from rural areas, or icy and treacherous conditions around the school,” said Mr Barnett.

“There's growing concern accidents in schools can result in legal claims from parents,” he added.

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In Chelmsford refuse collections were cancelled due to “inclement weather causing dangerous weather conditions”.

Residents due to have their rubbish collected yesterdayare asked to put it out next Thursday.

Essex Ambulance Service appealed for people to take care in the ice, following 35 calls in four hours to incidents where people had fallen down.

Spokesman Murray MacGregor said: “Falls can be particularly dangerous for older people who can suffer serious injuries as a result.”

The county council's team of gritting lorries kept main A-roads and B-roads passable. A man from Danbury was yesterday fighting for his life after an accident on the A127 at West Horndon, in south Essex, on Wednesday evening.

The 54-year-old man was a passenger in Vauxhall Astra driven by his 33-year-old son, who lost control of the car, crashing into the central reservation and coming to a halt in the middle of the carriageway where it was hit by an articulated lorry. The son suffered minor injuries and the lorry driver was unhurt.

Three Anglia Rail Norwich to London Liverpool Street trains were cancelled and some trains were delayed by 20-30 minutes, mainly due to bad weather on Wednesday night preventing trains from returning to the depot for overnight servicing.

First Great Eastern reported no weather-related problem on the mainline service, although a broken-down train on the outskirts of London caused some delays.

The runway at Stansted Airport was open again yesterday after airport bosses closed it late on Wednesday afternoon.

Airport spokesman Mark Davisonsaid 200 flights were cancelled between 4pm on Wednesday and 8.30am yesterday, some due to bad weather conditions and some due to either aircraft or staff being in the wrong place because of earlier problems caused by the weather.

Meanwhile harsh weather led Colchester United to cancel several community sports trust coaching sessions yesterday.

The club also extended the deadline for season ticket holders to get tickets for the Coventry game.

Heavy snow in and around north Essex has made it difficult for many supporters to make it down to Layer Road.

The club's chief executive, Marie Partner, said: “Clearly, weather conditions are going to make it difficult for people to make it down to Layer Road.

“As such, we will be opening the ticket office after the Tranmere match to give season ticket holders the maximum opportunity to get hold of their place.”

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