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Ne’er cast a clout until May is out

  • Wednesday June 23, 2021

By Richard Hayes CEng FIHE

Depending on where you are in the UK, the winter maintenance season usually ends no later than the last week of April with some authorities winding their response down during the month. However, snow covered footpaths greeted many people who turned out to vote on 6 May, following the coldest April for just under 100 years.

While snow in May is not unheard of, changes in  weather patterns show it is important that we continue to learn and adjust our winter maintenance activities.

To that end, the general advice and guidance documents from the National Winter Service Research Group (NWSRG) have been updated and are freely available to download from their website

A new look at the treatments of footways and cycleways has been undertaken to reflect the shift in transport to cycling and walking and placing appropriate importance on these active travel  modes.

Advances in technology are also covered in the new guidance as improved systems are coming to market at an increasing pace.

The NWSRG has for many years teamed up with the IHE to provide competence training and assessment for individuals who undertake winter maintenance duties. Our current course has been updated to ensure it reflects the new guidance documents.

Winter service training does not lend itself to online delivery as it is very hands-on in its style and format. However, as we emerge from the Government’s lockdown restrictions, courses are being  programmed for the late summer and early autumn and the IHE expects that demand for the training will be extremely high.

Courses are held over five days and lead to the award of a Professional Certificate in Winter Services Managers and Decision Makers (WSDM), recognised within the codes of practice and guidance documents as the industry standard for such activities.

The courses  will consider the effects of climate change and the need for better preparation for severe events particularly on the roles of winter-dedicated staff and resources during these emergencies.

Details for winter decision maker training courses which can be booked can be found here.

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