Snow causes disruption at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and City airports

All four airports were operational again on Monday but issues remain

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London’s airports suffered major disruption due to snow overnight, with delays and cancellations continuing into Monday.

Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City airports were operating again but with services disrupted.

As the freeze took hold, three children died after falling into a lake in Solihull, West Midlands, on Sunday. A fourth child was in a critical condition.

In total, more than 100 flights to and from UK airports were cancelled on Sunday and Monday, including one Emirates flight that was transferred to Amsterdam.

On Monday, an easyJet spokeswoman said: “Airlines operating to and from the UK today are experiencing some disruption to their flying programmes due to adverse weather, with a number of cancellations at Luton and Gatwick airports which are both affected by snow.

“Flights were also affected yesterday as snow closures affected Manchester, Liverpool, Gatwick and Luton airports with some flight cancellations and diversions.

“We are doing all possible to minimise the disruption for our customers, including providing hotel rooms and meals for those passengers affected by the cancellations.”

London City Airport said on Monday it was “experiencing some disruption this morning” due to aircraft being out of position after the “significant amount of cancellations” on Sunday night.

Sunday was Britain's coldest night of the year, with temperatures in northern Scotland dipping below minus 15°C.

A snow-covered Stansted Airport in London. Photo: @stopclimbFL200 / Twitter

Stansted has reopened and been operational since 3am on Monday, after all flights were suspended to clear snow from the runways. Passengers took to Twitter to complain about cancellations on Sunday evening.

Stansted's departure board showed some cancelled flights early on Monday.

Heathrow was also open and operational on Monday but a representative said there were “a number of weather related delays and cancellations”.

Gatwick, which shut its runway for a period on Sunday evening due to snow, also warned about disruption due to the bad weather.

“Passengers are advised to check flight status with their airline — and also local travel conditions — before departing for the airport,” Gatwick representatives tweeted.

Yellow warnings about travel disruption were in place for northern and south-western Scotland, Northern Ireland, north-eastern England, the Midlands, the south-west, London and south-east England.

Drivers were on Sunday night urged to travel on roads in the south-east of England only if essential.

The AA motoring association advised motorists to drive appropriately for the freezing conditions.

Kent was particularly hard hit, with snow affecting the M2, the M20 around junctions 8 and 9, the A21 and the A249, the organisation said.

Paramedic Daniel Duffield, 22, was stuck on the M25 London orbital motorway for more than two and a half hours on Monday morning, while attempting to travel home to Birmingham from London.

He said vehicles were “stationary, with very small movement”.

“I expected some traffic due to weather, but nothing this bad,” Mr Duffield said. “Traffic appeared to be at a standstill for miles and miles.

“Other drivers were turning their engines off, presumably to save fuel due to the uncertainty.

“A few people were stretching their legs due to delays, too.”

He said the motorway did not appear to have been gritted.

Britain’s railways were also badly affected, with operators including Southeastern warning passengers against travelling early on Monday.

The rail company said snow and ice had resulted in “severe disruption” across its entire network on Sunday. It warned services would continue to be disrupted on Monday morning, with several lines suspended.

There was also major disruption to services run by Greater Anglia, South Western Railway and Southern.

There were severe delays to London Underground trains, with all but one line affected. Several parts of the network were suspended, including: the Northern line between High Barnet and Archway; between Finchley Central and Mill Hill East; between Edgware and Golders Green; and the Central line between Hainault and Woodford.

Richard Stanton, area commander for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, where the three children died after falling into a lake, urged the public to be vigilant.

“We know that the weather forecast for the next few days is expected to be bitterly cold,” he said

“Please, adults and children alike, stay away from open water, under no circumstances venture on to ice regardless of how thick or safe you think this ice may be.”

Forecasters said cold temperatures, freezing fog and wintry showers were expected to remain throughout this week but cloud cover could raise temperatures.

Milder conditions are a possibility for next weekend but it is too early to be certain, they said.

Snowfall hits London – in pictures

Updated: December 12, 2022, 2:35 PM