Due to high winds

The final LAMMA taking place at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, was forced to close a day early yesterday (Thursday 18th Jan) due to high winds damaging the grounds.


STIHL's stand suffered some damage

A statement from the organisers on Twitter at around 9.40am on Thursday morning said, "Regrettably, due to the extreme winds last night and this morning has caused serious damage to stands and structures. For safety reasons we therefore regret to announce that LAMMA will NOT be open to visitors today. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused."

This had followed an earlier Tweet which had said the organisers were assessing the state of the grounds to ensure that the site was safe. They had initially announced that the show was unlikely to be open to public until at least 9.30am. Exhibitors were told they would be let onto their stands when it was safe to do so.

Following the cancellation, later in the morning on Thursday, LAMMA released a statement which confirmed the show had been unable to open to the public "due to safety reasons".

The statement said, "Hundreds of visitors who arrived early were held at the entrance to the showground as safety officers surveyed the site. However, it became obvious that the decision to close the event early had to be made."

Elisabeth Mork-Eidem, group head of events at Briefing Media, which owns LAMMA, was quoted in the first released statement, saying, "It is with great regret that we have had to close LAMMA today following an excellent day yesterday, but the safety of our visitors has to be paramount."

According to reports on social media the delay to opening and subsequent cancellation caused some considerable chaos on the roads surrounding the East Of England Showground.

Seemingly responding to people's frustrations at the cancellation, later on yesterday afternoon, around 4.30pm, Elisabeth Mork-Eidem released a further, more detailed statement. This one read, "We have received a number of questions about the decisions made this morning which regrettably led to the cancellation of Day 2 of LAMMA 2018. As you can understand, our team were faced with a very fluid situation but I hope the following will explain some of the process that was followed.

"The weather forecast was for high winds overnight but, as is normally the case, it was not possible to know exactly the strength, duration or direction of the worst of the storm. It was also predicted that the worst of the weather would hit between about 4am and 7am before the show opened.

"Additional work was performed to provide improved resistance to the weather, particularly for the larger structures. In addition, a number of contingency plans were drawn up – which were then actioned this morning.

"The LAMMA Operations Team were on site all night and monitored the winds, and extreme gusts were recorded between about 4am and 6am. While it was very difficult to assess the initial damage in the dark, it was evident before 6am that we would not be able to open the site before the winds abated. Prior to this it was not safe for people to be on site and out of vehicles. There were also pieces of material coming off the Main Hall when the wind was at its highest.

"While it was far from perfect, we took the decision that for safety reasons, we could only let exhibitors into Halls 1 and 2 and the Conference Suites and not onto the remainder of the Site.

"Once the winds abated we performed a systematic review of the site to assess as quickly as possible the extent of the damage. Only once all of the halls and larger stands had been checked for structural integrity was it possible to enter to assess the internal damage.

"As many of you have seen, there was significant damage across the site. Due to the nature of the showground, it is not possible to section off areas and so if any of the Site was unsafe it would not be possible to open the Site to the Public. We were also aware that there were significant traffic issues due to the back up of Visitors and we therefore made the regrettable decision to close the Show.

"All decisions were made with Health & Safety in mind, and we have made all efforts possible to minimise injuries either to contractors, staff, exhibitors or the Public. We thank you for your understanding and your patience this morning.

"Our priority right now must be to clear the site safely. Be assured we will deal with all queries once this has been completed."

Reading through the posts under #LAMMA18 on Twitter this morning (Friday 19th), the consensus of opinion now appears to be that the right decision was made by the organisers because when it comes to farming matters, safety must always come first. Flicking through that hashtag also reveals further photos which illustrate the level of damage suffered across the site.

An announcement that next January's LAMMA exhibition will take place indoors at Birmingham's NEC was made last year. 

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