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Rail urged to prepare for winter

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Network Rail and other rail companies have been urged to install new equipment in preparation for the winter months, a report has said.

The report by the Local Government Association (LGA) suggested that bus and train train companies need to be better prepared to deal with colder temperatures during winter.

If rail and bus transport is unavailable the extreme cold conditions could lead to a spike in weather-related accidents and associated car insurance claims.

LGA also said that employers needed plans in place to let employees know what to do when the bad weather strikes.

The report said that while it may not be a good use of council taxpayers' money for councils to stockpile more salt, the UK was almost entirely reliant on just two companies for supplying grit for the roads.

The LGA criticised salt suppliers for failing to admit that they were struggling to meet demand during last year's crisis, as this would have allowed councils to find alternative supplies.

The report was also critical of the way the cold snap at the beginning of February this year was handled.

London had its worst snow for 19 years and bus and train services in the capital were particularly badly affected on the worst day of the crisis - Monday February 2.

© Press Association 2009