Get a grip, winter may be harsh again

We are advising motorists planning to fit winter tyres to order them now to beat the rush.

In countries where severe winters are guaranteed, it is quite normal for drivers to switch to winter tyres. This is becoming more common in the UK because of harsh winters over the last two years.

Winter tyres have a different tread pattern to give better grip on snow and ice, and have a snowflake on a mountain as a symbol on the sidewall. The symbol indicates that they use winter grade rubber, which stays flexible and maintains grip to well below freezing. The rubber used on standard tyres hardens as the temperature drops.

Winter tyres are not suitable for all year round – regular tyres give better performance when temperatures are higher and roads dry – but they do make sense for drivers living in more remote areas where winter conditions are likely to be more severe for longer, or for those who feel they have to travel no matter what the weather.

But weigh up the expense. A full set will cost £400-£500, and most drivers won’t detect any significant difference in grip until the temperature is freezing. Most importantly, if conditions are really treacherous, you should just consider postponing the journey.

Whatever tyres are fitted, regular checks of tread depth and pressure are even more important in winter.

Peter Rodger, chiefexaminer, Institute of Advanced Motorists

It’s time to ditch the euro

With so many national economies around Europe in such a mess, why not take the opportunity to disband the common currency?

It will be painful in the short term, but the people of Europe will look back in a few years’ time and give thanks to the politicians who made it happen.

What a pity the EU’s blinkered leaders will never admit it is a failed experiment. So the people of Germany, for example, will go on funding the bankrupt government of Greece.

At least Britain made a good decision not to join the club. If only we were truly free of the consequences.

Name and address supplied

Green Deal needs a VAT cut

The rate of VAT for energy efficient improvements needs to be cut if the Government’s Green Deal programme to upgrade the country’s building stock to make it more energy efficient is to be successful.

Unless VAT is reduced, consumers will be reluctant to take up the Green Deal.

At a time when energy prices are soaring, the need to make our homes more energy efficient has never been so urgent.

It is critical that the Green Deal is a success, but it needs to be attractive to consumers who may be reluctant to have a ‘charge’ attached to their property.

Our homes contribute 27% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, and 85% of our existing homes will still be standing in 2050, so it is imperative homeowners are encouraged to make homes more energy-efficient if the UK is to achieve its legal target to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Brian Berry, Federation of Master Builders