Severe winds force closure of Lamma farm machinery show
PUBLISHED: 10:24 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:23 19 January 2018
Severe winds and safety concerns have forced the closure of a major farm machinery show in Peterborough this morning.
Lamma 2018 brought thousands of farmers to the East of England Showground yesterday for the first day of the two-day event which usually attracts around 40,000 visitors.
But those arriving at the venue this morning were prevented from entering the venue after safety officers reported “serious damage to stands and structures” following the overnight gales.
A Lamma spokesman confirmed that the event will not re-open today.
“Regrettably, due to the extreme winds last night and this morning has caused serious damage to stands and structures,” he said. “For safety reasons we therefore regret to announce that Lamma will not be open to visitors today. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
The closure frustrated hundreds of East Anglian farmers and exhibitors who made a wasted journey to Peterborough, while the lack of access to the site in the morning contributed to rush-hour traffic gridlock in and around the town.
Among the exhibitors was Will Mallon, a director of machinery dealer WM Agri, based at Little Fransham near Swaffham. He described the scene which met stand-holders when officials permitted them onto the showground to clear away their equipment.
“We saw gazebos and flags blown over on top of machines, and stands with parts blown away,” he said. “The fronts of canopies of trailers had been blown right back and buckled over. There were some panels blown away from the end of some buildings, and some roof panels.
“It was so windy there was a catering trailer with the hand-brake on that was blown 200 yards back from where it was parked.
“It was pretty bad really. It was such a shame to close it, but for health and safety reasons it had to be done.”
This was the last year that Lamma was being held at the Peterborough site. The event will move to the NEC in Birmingham in 2019.
Elisabeth Mork-Eidem, group head of events at Briefing Media, which owns Lamma, said: “It is with great regret that we have had to close LAMMA today following an excellent day yesterday, but the safety of our visitors has to be paramount.”
When asked whether there would be any possibility of compensation for exhibitors’ costs, she added: “Our focus has been on ensuring that the site is cleared without any injuries to our exhibitors or their contractors. We continue to communicate closely with all of our stakeholders including our exhibitors about all aspects of Lamma 2018 and about the exciting move to the NEC for January 2019.”