The cold snap gripping much of Europe is casting a shadow over the festive travel plans of New Year revellers. Police in parts of Britain told motorists to make journeys only if they are absolutely necessary. At least 200 drivers were trapped in their vehicles in northeaster England when strong winds drove snow from surrounding fields onto nearby roads. Wintry weather in Italy has claimed at least three lives this week and caused travel chaos.Heavy snowfall in parts of Poland has partially paralysed traffic. Freezing temperatures there took a terrible toll, with no fewer than 22 deaths – almost half of them homeless people, who the authorities say died while under the influence of alcohol. Northeaster Germany has borne the brunt of that nation’s big chill. And in Hungary, the motorway connecting Budapest with Vienna was closed after dozens of vehicles crashed in a pile-up due to heavy snowfall. France too is freezing, with the white stuff coming down across much of the country including one of its primary tourist destinations – Mont St. Michel on the northern coast – where the bay was exceptionally covered with a carpet of snow.