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Severe Weather – Silly Arguments but Useful Lessons

As the worst of the current blast of winter weather passes, the debate over how well the UK Government and transport networks handled the disruption intensifies.  As was argued on this blog last winter, the fact that things go badly wrong every once in a while is probably a good sign.  The fact that we get two hard winters in a row does nothing to fundamentally change this argument.

Another interesting theme in the debate is the relentless focus on mitigating the causes of disruption; with repeated calls for more grit, more snow-ploughs and, ideally, some snow-blowers (though I seem to recall from an early James Bond film that there are some Health and Safety issues with these).  There has, as a result, been very little discussion of managing the effects of disruption to the transport network ie: how can businesses keep going when there are transport problems?

In Business Continuity, focusing on the effects rather than the causes generally represents much better value for money.  If businesses were to look more broadly at ways of managing without national and international transport (eg teleconferencing and remote access to IT systems) they are not only preparing to deal with a much wider range of threats (eg snow, flooding, fuel shortages and pandemics) but might also identify ways of saving money.