The A New Winter Approach (ANWA) Stirling Conference took place on Thursday 21st September, marking the fifth face-to-face event organized by the ANWA team.
The conference was held for the first time in Scotland, bringing together over 50 winter maintenance professionals eager to enhance their knowledge and actively engage in the day’s proceedings. From insightful presentations to thought-provoking discussions, the conference offered a platform for industry experts to address common challenges and explore innovative solutions. Let’s delve into the highlights from the day.
Addressing challenges head-on
The day commenced with a challenge exchange session, providing an open forum for participants to share the hurdles they face in their daily roles. Notably, driver availability, training, and retention emerged as the primary concerns for the group. However, budget constraints, managing public expectations, and fleet availability were also high on the list. These challenges served as the building blocks for the conference, shaping the discussions and problem-solving initiatives throughout the day.
Insights from winter maintenance experts
ANWA’s winter maintenance experts took the stage to share their expertise through bitesize information-sharing presentations. Each speaker brought valuable insights into their specialist subjects, further enriching the participants’ understanding of key topics, including:
- Cameron Dickson from Eurodome emphasized the importance of covering salt and highlighted the financial impact of leaking salt stocks
- Richard Hogg from MetDesk provided a comprehensive analysis of domains, offering a deeper understanding of their significance
- Paul Allison-Thompson from Findlay Irvine introduced novel tools designed to assist winter decision-makers in their operations
- Paddy Hastie from Peacock Salt demystified common myths surrounding brine, shedding light on its true efficacy
- Alan Sheen from Salt Sense shared the results of a sensor trial conducted at Borders Council, offering tangible data for informed decision-making
- Charles Robertson from Winter Service Solutions showcased the benefits of using ceramic ploughing in heavy snow scenarios
- Steve Sinnott from Econ Engineering presented a useful checklist for spreader readiness, ensuring optimal equipment performance
- Lastly, Martin Baker from Exactrak explored how a self-assessment approach can help winter maintenance practitioners manage and improve their operations effectively
Engagement and collaboration
During the break times, delegates had the opportunity to network with winter maintenance experts and fellow practitioners from local authorities across central Scotland. The event space buzzed with conversations and discussions, fostering a sense of community and collaboration among attendees.
Tackling the Active Travel challenge
An engaging debate centred around the challenges of adequately treating active travel routes emerged as a prominent topic. Many authorities acknowledged the struggle of meeting the public’s expectations and budget constraints in this area. The discussion allowed participants to share their experiences and explore potential solutions, paving the way for future advancements in active travel maintenance.
Innovative solutions and case studies
The conference concluded with an open forum where participants collectively addressed the challenges identified earlier in the day. Experts shared case study examples, highlighting innovative solutions implemented by other authorities to overcome similar obstacles. The exchange of knowledge and experiences provided valuable insights and inspiration for attendees to explore new approaches.
ANWA’s Stirling Conference proved to be an invaluable platform for winter maintenance professionals to come together, learn from experts, and actively address the challenges they face.
The presentations, discussions, and networking opportunities empowered participants to enhance their knowledge, explore innovative solutions, and collaborate with like-minded individuals. As the event drew to a close with a networking afternoon tea, delegates left with newfound insights and a strengthened sense of community within the winter maintenance industry.
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