When A New Winter Approach was launched, the aim was to bring local authorities and winter maintenance practitioners together by hosting regional conferences across the UK as the founding members realised that neighbouring authorities rarely had the opportunity to meet each other to exchange information and learn from each other.
Fast forward to May 2023 and the team convened in Peterborough for the fourth A New Winter Approach event. The group of experts discussed winter service best practices and real-life scenarios from authorities and winter service delivery practitioners across the UK. The team offered advice on how winter maintenance practitioners could incorporate these best practices into their own strategies.
Doors opened at 9:30am, providing a chance to network over breakfast with the winter maintenance professionals and neighbouring authorities, before ANWA Chairperson, Paddy Hastie, welcomed the attendees to the day.
Dr Hugh Deeming, who was commissioned by the DfT to review the lessons learned from extreme weather between 2015-2020, was the keynote speaker, and led a passionate talk where he shared his report findings and suggested how its key recommendations could be used to enhance sector resilience against the changing climate.
Following Hugh, the ANWA winter maintenance experts discussed:
- Best practices for creating winter gritting routes, focusing on common pitfalls to avoid, as well as the potential of auto-salting navigation and AI for route optimisation
- An analysis of the available materials and sustainability credentials for salt storage, demonstrating to delegates how to apply national guidance to their own winter operations
- How to implement official guidance around treatment methods and technologies to maximise brine production investment
- Using historical forecast accuracy data to assess whether risk profiles would increase when reducing treatment trigger thresholds
- Reviewing alternative and sustainable fuels for the future
- How to utilise mobile and embedded sensor technology to obtain detailed information on temperature and friction in winter
- Best practice guidance on the optimal treatments for snow and ice
Finally, the room came alive as delegates took part in an interactive workshop on active travel schemes, hearing from fellow winter service practitioners in the East of England about their strategies.
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