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Government seeks fast solutions to avoid future snow chaos

The government will by July identify “quick wins” to improve transport resilience in preparation for the next winter, after prolonged cold weather this year caused widespread transport disruption.

Lord Adonis announced in March this year that an independent review into transport networks’ winter resilience would be undertaken. A website and call for evidence for the review have now been established.

The review panel has called for evidence from concerned parties including transport network operators and transport providers, salt suppliers and distributors, transport users, businesses, the general public, weather forecasters, and the media.

The review, chaired by RAC Foundation chair David Quarmby, will report in two phases with the first report expected in July, before the summer parliamentary recess.

Preparedness for severe weather

The two phases will first identify measures that can be implemented relatively quickly in preparation for the coming winter, and then take a longer term view of preparedness for severe winter weather in future years.

Phase One will largely focus on the planning, production, deployment and distribution of salt stock for the road network, including possible enhancements to the supply chain.

Phase Two will look at wider aspects of resilience of transport services across various modes through the winter season, covering communications, economic impacts, public expectations and issues around weather forecasting. The report for Phase Two is expected to be published in autumn 2010.

“The work will present a series of practical measures that authorities must consider.”

Lord Adonis

A small panel of independent experts including former Cambridgeshire County Council executive director Brian Smith and Network Rail non-executive director Chris Green will lead the review.

The independent review into the response of England’s transport system to severe winter weather was announced by the then Secretary of State on 30 March 2010.

Announcing the review, Lord Adonis said: “For the most part, our transport networks coped well in the circumstances. However, there are lessons that can be learned in order to improve our resilience for future winters.

“The work will … present a series of practical measures that authorities must consider for implementation to better prepare themselves for winter 2010-11 and beyond.”

Details of the review can be accessed at http://transportwinterresilience.independent.gov.uk

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