Resilience within the winter service industry

Storms, high winds, heavy rain and flooding all present unique challenges for winter maintenance teams. As a result of extreme weather events, their effects and their impacts on the UK highways network, the Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned a research report from Dr Hugh Deeming to identify any lessons that have been learned for ensuring the resilience of the highway network.

Published in 2021, Dr Deeming’s report on weather resilience in the United Kingdom highlighted the need for the UK to become more prepared for extreme weather events, such as floods and storms. It also emphasised the importance of developing contingencies for protecting the highway connections to critical infrastructure, such as power and communication networks.

The report was based on extensive research and included input from a range of highways authorities and operators who deal first hand with the impacts of extreme weather. As a result, it provides a valuable overview of the challenges faced by the UK when it comes to weather resilience.

During the research process, Dr Deeming found clear evidence that an encouraging amount of effort was being expended in collaboration with local highway authorities working to build resilience, both internally within their authorities and externally, with other authorities and responder agencies, but also with suppliers and communities through peer support networks.

These findings set the tone for Dr Deeming’s keynote address at the A New Winter Approach conference in Crewe on the 19th October, 2022, where he shared the recommendations from his report, followed by an open discussion with delegates around the challenges they faced from extreme weather and the resilience strategies implemented.

Sharing information across peer groups allows authorities to build networking communities where they learn from one another. This is one of the key aims of the A New Winter Approach events which bring the winter service industry together in regional conferences across the UK.

Dr Deeming’s report – Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Recovery: Identifying lessons learned by the UK highway sector from extreme-weather emergencies (2015-2020) – is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the impact of extreme weather on the UK. Click here to read the report


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