Still a mild winter!

Our news seems to be dominated by the “big freeze”.  Real snow, exceptionally low overnight temperatures (-21° somewhere in the Scottish highlands), and now little opportunity to thaw even by day.

Needless to say, we’re thoroughly mild by international standards.  Among places I’ve lived through a winter, not just boreal Sweden and continental Bavaria are routinely colder; even mediterranean central Italy gets it: I’ve slept under the stars in -20° there myself (and bought a winter-grade sleeping bag after a night of that)!

But here’s a telling point against our own history.  In the 1980s, the government introduced “cold weather payments” for pensioners when temperatures dropped below -2° continually for several days[1].  That was daytime maximum temperatures.

This year’s “big freeze” is still too mild to trigger those cold-weather payments!

A few days of freezing fog to keep the daytime sun out could bring us there.  But there’s no sign of that.  This is ideal weather for those with solar panels!

[1] I think the threshold was five days, but I can’t remember for sure.

Posted on January 8, 2010, in seasons, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Funny you should mention solar panels. I’m still sorely tempted to get some installed on the roof soon. The hard part is tracking down someone authoritative on the subject…

  2. My friend G. recently had solar water panels installed. On a sunny day she’s getting water heated to fortysomething, and even on the dull days we’ve had she’s got something around body temperature from them.

    I’ve got more primitive solar panels: namely, three south-facing windows. They keep the place warm during daylight hours, but don’t supply hot water, nor anything after dark.

  3. “This year you will get £25 when the average temperature where you live is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days during the period from 1 November to 31 March.”

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Inretirement/DG_10018668

  4. Chris, yes, they raised it to 0° a few years after introducing it with the -2° threshold. A few disputes featuring some poor frozen pensioner and a sympathetic press caused the dumbing down which ended up with the substantial unconditional payment pensioners get today.

    Come to think of it, given the strong sunshine during daylight hours, there’s still no excuse to use heating, unless you have a serious medical condition that calls for it. I conclude the original threshold, if still in effect, would be working well in *not* triggering the payments. Though there’d be huge outrage in the press …

  1. Pingback: November – back to normal! | niq's soapbox

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