Our British relationship with snow remains ambivalent; for some days we love the snow scenes, but soon start to dislike the town centres and urban chaos.

It’s easy to move snow with a snowplough, but where to pile and put it is a bigger and hazardous problem in small town centres. We lack the ‘Alpine’ expertise.

Haddington town centre was fraught with difficulty during this second Beast from the East.

General path clearance was a hit-or-miss hotchpotch, ending in an alternating patchwork of safe and ankle-breaker ice-rink conditions.

The only town centre disabled car parking bay at the Market Street pharmacy, for the collection of prescriptions, remained untreated throughout the last fortnight.

The principal shopping path from Market Street to Tesco was cleared by a local resident.

The access to the Newton Port clinic was cleared in emergency by NHS snowploughs when a delivery vehicle got stuck.

Roads to sheltered housing were not navigable.

Endless numbers of cars got trapped by even the gentle slope on Market Street parking bays, covered with a crust of ice, and so on.

While East Lothian Council was certainly faced with a mammoth task and did a good job to keep rural roads open, town and urban centres must continue to function too, despite the reduced numbers of cars due to lockdown, but notably a vast increase in the number of delivery vans.

We are likely to face Beasts from the East more often.

It appears much better on-the-ground operational use of resources is needed.

One hesitates to suggest a ‘snow Tsar’ as you cannot clear critical paths WFH (working from home) – whatever the salary incentive!

Most townspeople are now pleased to see the back of these conditions, because of the difficulties and danger to retail functions and residential access that could be greatly reduced by sensible planning.

Surely a joined-up safe-path route between Post Office-supermarket-clinic-surgery-pharmacy, and a minimum number of functioning car park bays is not beyond 21st-century expectations?

To use officialdom’s new buzzword, let’s call for it to be ‘delivered’ next time the next Beast arrives!

David Barrett