By Jo Francis, Thursday 01 March 2018
Printers across the UK are battling blizzards and road closures as they strive to keep the presses turning, but the extreme weather conditions have forced at least one company to enact a temporary emergency shutdown.
With an unprecedented number of red weather warnings in the course of two days – first for the central belt of Scotland, and now the south-west of England and South Wales, there has been widespread disruption to transport and travel.
Pensord, located in Blackwood in South Wales, and the printer of PrintWeek magazine among many other titles, has taken drastic action in the face of a forecasted foot of snow falling in its locality later today (1 March).
Managing director Darren Coxon told customers: "We have just received a red weather warning in our area which is 'widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life'. As a responsible employer we have to take this seriously and so for the first time in over 20 years, we are enforcing a factory shut down to keep our employees safe."
Coxon said Pensord would shut until Saturday morning when the weather front should have moved on, and acknowledged that it would cause significant disruption to the business and its clients. "We hope you will recognise these circumstances are unique and beyond our control and we can assure you that we will be doing everything we can to get back to normal as quickly as possible."
Printers in parts of Scotland, which experienced severe weather last night resulting in hundreds of motorists being stuck on the M80, reported challenging circumstances.
Stephen Docherty, managing director at Glasgow book printer Bell & Bain, said: "We closed yesterday at 2pm and opened at 9am this morning with the management team picking people up to get them here. I hope we have seen the worst of it. We made sure everybody was home safe yesterday and we will do the same today."
Firms have also reported logistics issues because delivery and courier companies have been unable to pick up as usual. All of the main roads in Lincolnshire were blocked earlier today, causing widespread disruption in that part of the country.
Chris Strawson, accounts and new business manager at DPS Digital, said: "The roads here are very treacherous, most of them are closed off to Lincoln where I'm based, I've managed to make it to DPS HQ in Sleaford via the train."
The BPIF has re-issued advice to members about dealing with severe, and potentially dangerous, weather conditions.
However, large parts of the country remain relatively unaffected, Gareth Roberts, managing director at Bishops Printers in Portsmouth, said: "We've had vehicles into Swindon, Bristol, Exeter and Leicester this morning without any problems. That said, one of our customers in Scotland sent me a picture of a metre of snow outside his front door!"
Many companies are also tweeting snowy scenes, and tales of weather-related exploits (see below).
We've set up a live camera on the roof of our factory overlooking #StAustell so you can watch the town turn white throughout the day today....— St Austell Printing (@AustellPrint) March 1, 2018
Watch it now on Facebook: https://t.co/J0CD5yGYFa#Snow #Cornwall pic.twitter.com/mLuE3nBFlS