Britain risks grinding to a halt once again if there is severe weather this winter, as lessons have not been learned from the last cold snap, it was warned today.
Bus and rail companies are unprepared for extreme conditions, firms have not implemented contingency plans for stranded employees and the UK risks running out of grit for the roads.
The warning comes from the Local Government Association which claims the country is ill-prepared for further sub-zero conditions.
Their report also attacked the handling of February's snowfall - the worst in 19 years in the south of England - which brought much of the country to its knees.
Roads and railways were closed, employees were stranded at work and grit to keep the roads clear was in short supply.
Now the LGA is warning the same could happen again this winter if there is no additional preparation for adverse conditions.
The LGA particularly 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 also said that too few businesses had contingency plans in place so that employees knew what to do when bad weather struck.
The LGA said Network Rail and train companies should install new equipment to make sure that trains could keep running in cold weather and both train and bus companies should be better prepared to operate revised services.
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 report was 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.
Councillor David Sparks, chairman of the LGA's transport and regeneration board, said: 'When we get bad weather this country should not grind to a halt.
'The rest of the world manages to keep going and so should we.
'It is high time Network Rail and the train companies tackled problems like freezing points and ice on overhead wires that often occur on our railways during winter.
'When there is heavy snowfall people are advised to stay off the roads so it is more important than ever that buses and trains keep running.
'There needs to be better plans in place for operating revised services so train and bus companies do not leave people stranded with no idea how to get home.'
He went on: 'In a time of crisis, salt suppliers need to be upfront with councils and the Highways Agency about what they can deliver and when. If they are to keep people moving, councils need to make sure there is enough slack in the system for supplying salt.
'It is essential both for people's safety and the economy that we are properly prepared for extreme weather.
'Businesses should have plans in place so that when severe weather happens, their staff do not have to drive on dangerous roads and their work is disrupted as little as possible.
'In light of last February's experience, councils have been reviewing how they cope with winter weather.
'Better systems are in place to make sure councils don't run out of salt if problems arise.
'Councils are ready to work with bus and train companies to ensure that when cold weather hits, people can get to work and make it home safely again.'
Despite a current 'Indian Summer' of balmy weather, the weather is set to take a turn for the worse as heavy downpours and gales of up to 60mph lash the country on Saturday night.
A Met Office spokeswoman said there was a 'one-in-seven' chance of a cold winter.
She said: 'Preliminary indications continue to suggest that winter temperatures are likely to be near or above average over much of Europe including the UK.
'Winter 2009/10 is likely to be milder than last year for the UK but signals for precipitation slightly favour near or above average rainfall.'
Paul Watters, the AA's head of roads policy, said: 'Last winter's snow emergency left the transport system and highway authority offices in a scrambled mess.
'Authorities with no snow had ample salt and some of those with more than a foot of snow had their salt stocks running on empty.
'The motorways were clear but no one could get to them because local roads were impassable.'
He added: 'This report from the LGA is alarming as it suggests last winter's chaos could be repeated.
'This would be very damaging to economic recovery and the UK transport system.
'We have to find a way to prepare for random bad winters without huge capital sums being spent, but which means there is a high level of co-ordination to ensure the resources end up where they are most needed.
'"The AA is still concerned at how a postcode lottery exists in how much of a local authorities' road network gets treated compared to others - up to 60 per cent in places and 25 per cent in others.
Roads carry 85 per cent of goods and people and are often a link in the public transport chain too. They therefore must take priority.'
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: 'Some people might uncharitably think councils are trying to steer attention away from their own failings last February.
'The reason that many trains did not run that day was because drivers and other railway staff could not get into work, as the roads had not been gritted by the local authorities.'
'In May, MPs carried out a full inquiry into the disruption and concluded there had been 'a widespread failure' by councils in prioritising how the public transport network was going to be restored after the snow fell.'