SOMERSET has finally been covered in snow after weeks of very cold weather.

My first reaction when snow falls is joyful. It changes the landscape, adds beauty to every tiny feature of nature and provides enormous pleasure for thousands of children (and adults).

There are though, of course, serious consequences as well.

A few months ago I spent a whole day with staff from Somerset Care at Home. Hundreds of vulnerable people across Taunton Deane rely on the service they provide and the roads becoming impassable can cause real problems.

There has been a statement in the House of Commons about whether Britain has sufficient salt reserves to keep the roads open. Gritters are working overtime, but side-roads remain treacherous, and that adds to the risk of injury.

Musgrove Park A&E department has been dealing with the consequences, whilst other parts of the hospital have a fall in appointments with patients unable to travel into Taunton.

As Britain struggles to emerge from recession, local businesses will be frustrated by the fall in productivity and customer numbers, while many farmers will be struggling with the adverse conditions.

There is one thing we can all do. The cold weather can be dangerous for older people, who need to make sure that they claim their winter fuel allowance, stay warm and eat well. So why not take a moment to knock on the door of an elderly neighbour, especially if he or she lives alone, and check that they are alright?