News

National Grid at winter low

Posted on: October 28, 2015

The National Grid has said that electricity margins will be “tight but manageable” this winter, after revealing that the risk of blackouts is the highest in over a decade.

This year’s forecast capacity margin – the difference between available supply and forecast peak demand – is just 1.2%, the lowest since 2006. National Grid have put emergency measures in place in order to secure additional supplies, including paying power stations to provide extra capacity and asking companies to be ready to reduce electricity usage. With these measures, the margin rises to 5.1%.

In its winter report, National Grid said that the energy balancing services it has in place will be enough “to meet even the tightest week”.

“We expect electricity margins to be tight but manageable for this winter. We have procured our contingency balancing services which we may need to use in order to help us balance the system,” it added.

This report comes after criticisms in July that National Grid oversaw a huge fall in spare capacity, meaning that it had to buy in £36.5m of emerg

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Swans' arrival hints at harsh winter

Posted on: October 20, 2015

Forecasters are warning that this winter could be the coldest in 50 years and the predictions have been backed up by an old folk legend. The arrival of Bewick’s swans at Welney Wetlands Centre in Norfolk traditionally signals the start of winter and this year is the earliest they’ve ever come to stay.

Arriving two weeks earlier than last year, the Siberian swans migrate west every year, away from the cold weather of northern Europe and the Arctic. The winter follows them, prompting the Russian saying ‘the swan brings snow on its bill’.

Welney Wetlands Centre provides the ideal habitat for Bewick’s swans and up to 5,000 of them spend the winter there. Over the last twenty years the population of Bewick’s swans has almost halved, from 30,000 to 17,000. Scientists believe this could be down to changing weather patterns in the Arctic, making Welney Wetlands Centre vital for the survival of the species.

The early arrival of the swans isn’t the only folk

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Freak winter conditions expected

Posted on: October 13, 2015

Advanced weather models are predicting extreme conditions throughout the UK this winter, forecasters warned on Monday. Early warnings to prepare for heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures have been issued as a number of factors combine to threaten the worst winter in 50 years, since the shocking winter of 1962/63 which saw parts of the sea freeze over.

The Current Predictions

As the North Atlantic Oscillation enters a negative phase, the atmospheric pressure gradient between Iceland and Bermuda will weaken, suppressing the prevailing westerly winds and allowing freezing winds to sweep in from the North Pole. The Arctic Oscillation is also threatening to enter a negative phase and bring cold Arctic air into Britain. In addition, what is potentially the strongest El Nino on record has sent Atlantic sea temperatures plummeting, meaning the effects of these cold weather fronts will be multiplied.

Sooner Than You Think

Speaking to the Express, James Madden of Exacta Weather said that the first snow of winter is not far away:

"It is likely to turn significantly colder

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Winter weather prep for UK

Posted on: October 8, 2015

Across Britain, businesses and local authorities are preparing for winter 2015. With the clocks going back in a matter of weeks, October marks the start of winter — and it's time to get ready for the cold weather. With what may be the coldest winter in 50 years on the way, UK businesses are set to lose millions of pounds simply because they don't have a winter maintenance plan in place. We look at the parts of the country that are doing it right and getting ready now.

Nottinghamshire

In Nottinghamshire, gritters have been on 'low risk' standby since the start of the month, and will go on 24/7 standby on 1st November. The Nottinghamshire County Council has stocked its four salt barns with 12,000 more tonnes than government regulations, and is ready to refill its 1,300 roadside grit bins when necessary.

Speaking to the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad, Councillor Kevin Greaves, Chairman of the Transport and Highways Committee, said:

"Our planning for winter carries on all year round and we are confident that we are in a stronger position than ever to deal wi

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