First grit, then gas – now it's vegetables in short supply
Eight more consecutive nights of below-freezing temperatures are expected to exhaust council grit supplies and leave roads icy for days....
There are less pressing shortages of potatoes, sprouts and cabbages, because farmers are struggling to harvest their vegetables. "This reduces the amount available to stores and pushes up prices," said Stephen Alambritis, chief spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses, which has 215,000 members. "Our members have had a run on vegetables and food, which they were pleased about because it brought them in some money, but the replacements have been thin on the ground." He added: "Even the supermarkets may have to push up prices if this goes on until February."
The death toll from the prolonged freeze rose to at least 29 yesterday. Police in South Yorkshire said that a 90-year-old woman had frozen to death in her garden....
Food costs to soar as big freeze deepens
...Concerns have now switched to food supply. Sub-zero temperatures have made it impossible to extract some vegetables from the ground. Producers of brussels sprouts and cabbages are all reporting problems with harvesting. Cauliflowers are said to have turned to "mush" in the sustained frost, with the result that only imported ones are available – at more than £2 each.
...In Ireland, 6,000 acres of potatoes remains unharvested and there are claims that up to three-quarters of the crop may be ruined.
...Today, the prime minister insisted gas supplies were not running out, despite record levels of demand.
Energy security questioned as National Grid cuts off gas to factoriesExclusive: Severe weather and creaking power infrastructure lead to first tangible sign that fears over energy shortages are translating into supply disruption
Vauxhall's car plant at Ellesmere Port on Merseyside and British Sugar's refineries at Bury St Edmunds and Newark are among nearly 100 factories that have had their gas cut as Britain's energy infrastructure creaks under the strain of the great freeze.
'Wildlife in crisis' in frozen UK
Britain's wildlife is being pushed to "the brink of a crisis" as sub-zero temperatures continue to grip the nation, according to conservationists.