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UK prepares for second week of snow

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Car insurance companies are bracing themselves for an influx of inquiries as a second week of snow is expected to bring more chaos to the roads.

Wales, the Midlands and the North will see yet more treacherous conditions as heavy rain moving in from the South West turns to snow showers.

Ministers are keeping up their search for foreign salt as the forecast puts more pressure on UK salt stocks; one council has started using table salt to grit its roads.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "We can expect strong winds and heavy rain from the South West, and it could well turn to snow as it heads north over parts of Wales, the Midlands and the North."

As UK stocks dwindle, salt is being shipped in to Britain from countries such as Spain and Germany.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears told Sky News: "We are now buying in from abroad. I have just heard that we are getting some salt from Italy; there is a boat from Tunisia on its way.

"These are once in 20-year occurrences, so obviously we are not going to keep these stocks all the time; it would be a waste of taxpayers' money."

© Press Association 2009