A New Winter Approach | New Event Steering Winter Maintenance Into a New Era
September 17th, 2019 saw the launch of a new event for the winter maintenance industry.
A New Winter Approach, held in central London, saw over 50 delegates attend the event, which was devised and delivered to shape winter maintenance practices and protocols for the better.
A number of established companies who specialise in providing solutions for the winter maintenance industry felt there was a need for change in the existing winter services events schedule.
“I’ve never seen so many London Boroughs all together in one room”
Richard Hayes, Chief Executive, Institute of Highway Engineers
The group sensed a gap in the market for an event with a specific focus on the innovations which could offer value and sustainability to local authorities for years to come, while also creating a collaborative environment for attendees to share best practice information about how they approach the winter season.
We spoke to event organizer, Gemma Rule, and asked:
Why hold your first event in London?
Gemma told us: “Our message was specifically targeted towards winter professionals within local authorities and private contractors, we chose London as we knew the content discussed on the day could drive real value to the London Boroughs in particular.”
That content included:
- A keynote speech from Richard Hayes (Chief Executive of the Institute of Highway Engineers) discussing how legislative compliance affects the winter maintenance industry
- Advice on how to effectively treat footpaths and cycleways
- Cost-effective innovations which maximise local authority budgets – including automated spreading, innovative residual salt measurement technology and sustainable solutions such as salt storage and electric vehicles
- The long-range winter forecast for 2019/20
We also asked Gemma:
How difficult was it to convince people to attend a new event?
Gemma explained: “Despite A New Winter Approach being the first event of its kind, we had no problem filling the venue. The agenda was carefully chosen to drive value for attendees and covered current hot topics and areas of interest, rather than being a commercial opportunity.”
“The location proved to be a real attraction as London Boroughs could easily travel there.”
The day itself saw over 50 attendees, with a blend of professionals from several local authorities, Highways England, term maintenance contractors and private contractors.
The format of the day was set by agenda and divided into four sessions which contained a mixture of presentations delivered by representatives of leading winter maintenance companies, and discussion opportunities:
- Are you achieving legislative compliance?
- How winter maintenance innovations can build a sustainable future
- Winter weather workshop
- Panel Q&A
Following the event, we caught up with Gemma about feedback on A New Winter Approach, as well as plans for 2020 and beyond to make the event a ‘must visit’ on every winter highway professionals’ calendar.
Gemma told us:
“The feedback has all been extremely positive, so we’re delighted.
“Richard Hayes (Chief Executive, IHE) personally commented that he’d never seen so many London Boroughs all together in one room – which we are immensely proud of given this is our first event.
“Another positive is that we’ve been inundated with offers from attendees to present at future events in order to align themselves, their companies and their boroughs with delivering a better future for winter maintenance.”
Speaking of future events, what are the plans for 2020 and beyond?
“Thanks to the very positive response we had from delegates and participating brands we will be offering more events across the UK.
We now know the format works well and we are looking to regionalise to visit other locations and offer targeted content which helps solve issues relevant to that location, all under the winter maintenance umbrella.
Thanks to the collaboration element being so well received, we will aim to have a local authority sharing their approach to their entire winter maintenance strategy at future events.
“I’d like to thank our event partners, delegates and presenters for making the day such a success. We look forward to a return to London and branching out nationwide.”