Icy weather brings chaos to Norfolk and Suffolk roads

Police are today urging motorists to take care on the region's roads after reports of several crashes due to the icy conditions.

Police are today urging motorists to take care on the region's roads after reports of several crashes due to the icy conditions.

Treacherous driving conditions which followed last night's big freeze have resulted in Norfolk police so far receiving at least 15 reports of road traffic collisions, most of which are minor damage only collisions.

Officers have also been called to several locations where cars have become stuck.

At 8am police were called to the A143 in Haddiscoe where a vehicle had become stuck in the road as a result of the ice. The driver managed to get the vehicle moving however a second car then got into difficulties.

A Ford Focus was involved in a collision with the central reservation on the A11 Norwich, close to the Wymondham turn-off. Police were called to the scene at about 8.20am and traffic was stopped by officers while the vehicle was recovered.

Elsewhere a jackknifed lorry on the A146 Norwich Road at Gillingham causing delays for vehicles with the road partially blocked.

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There was also very slow traffic on the A146 at Loddon between the High Bungay Road junction and the Vale Road junction because of an accident involving a van which has gone into the ditch, while a jackknifed lorry on the A143 at Stockton and an accident on the A140 at Roughton also caused delays.

Ice also caused problems on the B1150 Norwich Road at Horstead where there was slow moving traffic and a coach fire at the Stag roundabout on the A11 at Attleborough added to the chaos with the south-bound road, at the turn for Shropham, blocked.

In Lowestoft there were problems with police called out at 7.17am this morning to the A146 at the New Road junction in Barnby, where traffic was 'slow' due to hazardous driving conditions - and there were delays as a 'lorry was unable to go up the hill'.

Opportunist thieves have not been deterred by the weather as they struck in a Lowestoft street this morning.

'Just before 7.05am there was a theft from motor vehicle incident reported, as an Ipod was stolen,' police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said. 'The car owner very briefly left his vehicle to go and defrost the car, which was parked in Wollaston Road, but when he returned the Ipod had gone.'

There were further traffic problems reported in Leisure Way, Lowestoft causing chaos on the roads after a bus slid into a parked vehicle at 8.43am. 'The bus slid in the icy conditions and hit the Vauxhall Astra car, but no-one was hurt,' Ms Breach said,

Cars were also reported as getting stuck on the ice at 8.58am this morning, causing problems 'halfway along Cotmer Road as it goes into Conrad Road' in Lowestoft.

Traffic was also stuck at Katwijk Way and St Peters Street, while there were also problems on one of the major routes into town at Tom Crisp Way.

'The Highways team are aware we are having all sorts of problems in Lowestoft,' Ms Breach added.

'There has been gridlocked traffic throughout Lowestoft at various stages this morning and most people will have had a difficult journey today.'

At least nine schools in Norfolk, including Acle High School, were closed today because of the cold weather and Norwich International Airport had to close until 8am because of ice on the runway. It has now reopened.

Road policing officers are keen to remind motorists to make sure windscreens are completely clear of ice and snow.

Officers have seen several vehicles being driven this morning with only a small area of the windscreen cleared, making driving conditions dangerous by obscuring drivers' vision.

In Norwich there were calls for the council to grit the pavements after several people were reported falling over in the icy conditions.

Lisa Thurlow, 40, who works at St Benedicts Street in Norwich, said: 'The fly-over over Grapes Hill is completely impassable. People are holding onto the hadrails dragging themselves up and down and on Unthank Road I saw two people go on their backsides on the pavement. I want to see the council get out and grit the pavements.'

It has been a similar story of chaos and disruption across the rest of the country with widespread ice causing dangerous driving conditions. Heavy snow and high winds produced blizzards across much of northern Scotland and police in the Highlands are advising against all travel.

Flights at several UK airports are suspended, hundreds of schools are closed and trains are disrupted.

More snow is forecast later and on Saturday, with up to 25cm (10in) in Wales and southern and central England.

Energy minister Charles Hendry has warned that more bad weather over Christmas could lead to 'very serious' shortages of domestic heating oil.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for widespread icy roads for the whole of the UK.

There are also heavy snow warnings for Orkney and Shetland, Highlands and Outer Hebrides, Grampian, Northern Ireland, Wales and south-west England on Friday. By Saturday, another band of heavy snow is forecast to affect much of England and Wales, with 5 to 10cm likely in many places and 20 to 25cm possible in some others.

<t> Have you fallen over on the ice or had an accident in the snow? Have you got pictures of the chaos caused by the ice? Email reporter peter.walsh@archant.co.uk