Brown says that the UK won’t run out of gas

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Saturday that the UK’s natural gas reserves will not run out in spite of record demand. This spike in demand is caused by the recent cold weather.

A supplier, National Grid, issued two “balancing alerts”, which mean a possible supply shortfall, which were promptly lifted. A spokeswoman for the company said that there was a possible shortfall of 35 million cubic metres (1.2 billion cubic feet). This third balancing alert is expected to last for the next few days, and is said not to be due to the cold weather—which is expected to continue for at least a week—but due to problems in Norwegian gas fields.

Another staple related to the cold snap, rock salt, is feared to run short. The Automobile Association reports that supplies have been reduced by 250,000 tonnes over the last ten years. Local governments pledged to conserve supplies by 25%.

Non-profits have asked that the allowance for gas money be temporarily raised for pensioners. The Red Cross reports that it is having the highest volume of aid being given out in nearly 30 years.

The cold snap has caused at least two further deaths, a 90-year-old woman who had frozen to death in her garden in Barnsley, and a 42-year-old who was found frozen in Newcastle, taking the total to 26.

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