Re: Can they do something more useful instead?
"especially if winter tyres are only needed for four days every ten years or so"
This is why we get the moaners saying "something must be done" when the UK gets a bit of snow every 5 or so years. It's simply not economic to provide all that equipment just to have it sit in storage for 5 years and then get used for a day or two before going back into storage.
What we generally don't see in the UK news is the chaos a small amount of snow causes in many other places in the world who, like us, only get it once in a while.