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British soldiers banned from training for snowy conditions at Norwegian base because health and safety rules deem it too COLD
- British soldiers cannot join NATO counterparts in Porsanger, Norway
- Temperatures can drop to -25C, but rules prevent soldiers from facing them
- A Norwegian officer says the rules have caused 'amusement' among locals
By Sam Webb
PUBLISHED: 08:48 EST, 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:20 EST, 26 February 2014
British soldiers are being banned by health and safety rules from training at a military base in the Arctic circle - because it's too cold.
Locals at the Allied Training Centre in Porsanger in Norway said they were stunned that while Norwegian troops were out in -25C weather, the Brits were being kept in the warm because of the army rules.
The base commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Trond Thomassen confirmed: 'British officers are not in a position to train with large divisions at Porsanger, where the temperature drops to 25 degrees below zero.
British soldiers are being banned by health and safety rules from training at a military base in the Arctic circle - because it's too cold. File picture
Locals are bemused at the British Forces' aversion to exposing troops to extreme temperatures. File picture
'Basically, it's a waste of time if they go there as it's too cold. The British have rules for health and safety.
'They would be sitting in the barracks, and receiving no training at all, whenever the mercury dropped below -20C.'
During winter warfare training soldiers face various tasks, including cross-country skiing, setting up base camp, cooking in the extreme cold, constructing snow shelters and learning how to survive after falling through ice.
Thomassen pointed out that within NATO, 'Cold Winter Training' means eight degrees centigrade and below.
Local politician Ida Kathrine Balto said: 'I have to admit I was stunned by the news. 'I wonder what the British would do if there was a war in winter?'
NATO winter training means 8C and below, which the officer called a 'fine autumn day' in Porsanger
Thomassen added: 'Not surprisingly it's caused amusement in the area.
'Eight degrees in Porsanger means a fine autumn day, but I tell them we have to remember that NATO includes nations like the Germans, Spaniards and Italians, who have a completely different climate.'
Local politician Ida Kathrine Balto from Porsanger where the military presence is a mainstay of the local economy said: 'I have to admit I was stunned by the news.
'I wonder what the British would do if there was a war in winter. To my mind, you would think that a little extreme weather would provide better training for soldiers.'
The Ministry of Defence did not comment.