300 passengers stranded as snow and ice hits travel

Hundreds of people have spent the night stranded in airports after snow and ice disrupted travel across the UK.

A spate of accidents on major roads was followed by problems for air passengers - with delays and cancellations at Stansted Airport sparking a backlash on social media.

Frustrated travellers slammed airlines and the airport for a lack of information - with many reporting being stuck on planes for hours, late notice of cancellations and troubles getting their luggage back.

Lana Briggs, who flew into Stansted from Dublin with a young child, said she had been left without her bags after hours of delays and received "very little information" from the airport or her airline.

She told Sky News: "People are talking about; 'It's going to descend into a riot if we don't get more information.' I'm sure it's not going to happen but it does feel pretty devastating at the moment.

"It's definitely tense.

"Mums and babies are on the floor. There are families kipping on suitcase carriers and even on some of the baggage belts that aren't working at the moment.

"All the local hotels are booked up."

Meanwhile, passenger Fiona Davidson tweeted: "@Ryanair my 13 year old daughter was left sitting on the same plane for 8 hours, no explanation, no refreshments... shocking service."

A spokesperson for London Stansted told Sky News: "Due to adverse weather conditions today Ryanair and Easyjet cancelled a number of flights.

"There are up to 300 passengers in the terminal waiting to rebook flights.

"Passengers unable to return home are being looked after by Stansted Airport with beds and blankets, and additional help for elderly passengers or those with young children.

"Free food and drinks have been provided to delayed passengers throughout the day.

"All passengers due to travel are advised to check the status of their flights with their airline before travelling to the airport."

Ryanair said: "Due to snow-related runway closures at several UK airports (including Liverpool, Luton and Stansted) we regret we've been forced to cancel a small number of flights today.

"All affected customers have been contacted by email and SMS text message and advised of their rebooking options.

"We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by these weather cancellations and disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control."

Cold Feet star Fay Ripley was among those caught up in Wednesday's disruption.

She wrote: "Just arrived in #Copenhagen after spending 10 yes 10 hrs On the runway. #shameonyou #Ryanair terrible treatment #Criminal #illegal."

An accident in treacherous conditions closed the M1 for several hours on Wednesday morning, before it reopened at 12.30pm.

The lorry crash closed all three lanes southbound before junction 19, with Leicestershire Police telling Sky News it was likely caused by the wintry conditions.

The worst of the snow fell across the Midlands and parts of Wales - with motoring organisations reporting a surge in minor bumps and breakdowns.

The RAC said it attended "a dozen vehicles" on the M25 alone - blaming a large pothole for causing punctures and wheel damage.

The seasonal weather hit as many people prepared to return to work after a short Christmas break.

The worst disruption was on the A14 in Suffolk, which was hit by heavy snow and flooding.

Drivers there were understood to have been stuck for more than five hours.

Meanwhile, engineers were rushed to restore power to more than 24,000 homes.

A build-up of snow and ice on power lines was blamed for bringing them down.

According to the Met Office, temperatures are set to plunge across much of the UK overnight into Thursday.

It issued yellow warnings for ice covering England, Wales, the east of Northern Ireland and northern and western Scotland.