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Transport stalled by snow

The government said great efforts were being made to keep roads and schools open, amid signs that the severe wintry weather conditions are easing. Nearly all motorways and trunk roads will be open today, the government said.

While it is not issuing any severe weather warnings at present, the Met office says snow, ice and low temperatures will persist in the next few days.

Councils need about 60,000 tonnes of salt a day and supplies are running short as the cold spell continues. They have had to focus on keeping main routes clear of ice. Salt ordered from abroad will not arrive until 21 January.

Secondary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have GCSE and A-level exams starting today, even though many were closed in recent days. School closures have been the main reason for a surge in snow-related workplace absenteeism.