Cold Comfort 2021 Provisional Programme

All speakers and sessions listed below are subject to confirmation due to the rescheduling of the event. We thank you for your patience.

Day One

08.30 - 09.30

Registration and exhibition viewing

09.30 -10.00

09.30 -10.00

Transport expert David Quarmby will be a headline speaker at Cold Comfort 2020 to mark 10 years since his famous government-commissioned report into UK winter service. His research and analysis laid the foundations for the Government’s response to the harsh winters of 2008-09 and 2009-10 when the country was brought to prolonged standstills through extreme weather and a lack of salt supply. His report was the springboard for widespread reforms. David will present original research and analysis that revisits winter resilience and looks to the future in an age of climate change, as he asks the sector once again: ‘Are you prepared?’

David Quarmby, Transport expert and former government adviser,

10.00 - 10.35

10.00 - 10.35

Head of local roads at the Department for Transport Steve Berry provides exclusive insights into central government plans to help the country move forward and what it expects from its partners.


Steve Berry OBE, Head, Local Roads, Innovation, Resilience, Light Rail and Cableways, Department for Transport (DfT),

10.35 - 11.15

10.35 - 11.15

Highways England’s David Batchelor, project manager for its Severe Weather Research & Development, with outline the strategic network operator’s latest severe weather research projects and give an update on the outcomes from 2019/20 winter season.


David Batchelor, Project Manager-Severe Weather Plan, Highways England

11.15 - 11.30

11.15 - 11.30

Chair of the NWSRG, Chris Cranston, will be giving a presentation about its latest plans and developments. NWSRG has ambitions for more research projects, new offers to members, and coming up shortly, the publication of the next chapter of its winter guidance - Chapter 2 covers ‘Planning for Winter Service Delivery’. So there will be plenty for Mr Cranston to discuss with delegates.


Chris Cranston, NWSRG and Operations & Communications Manager, Devon County Council

11.30 - 12.00

Coffee Break

12.00 - 12.30

Winter educators and deliverers

Outgoing chief executive of the Institute of Highway Engineers Richard Hayes will discuss the latest winter service training developed specifically to boost expertise and professional knowledge in the resilience sector.

  • Details of the latest winter service training - an IHE and LGTAG collaboration
  • Strength in numbers – multi-agency resilience in the face of emergencies
  • Course outline and experts’ insights

Richard Hayes, Chief Executive, IHE

12.30 - 13.00

12.30 - 13.00

A leading representative of Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) reflects on the key role that contractors play in delivering frontline services and the association’s historical roots in the winter service industry. Harvey Cullen’s day job is general manager for central and north-west at Tarmac Highway Services and he will be speaking on the subject of ‘managing risk and margins in winter service’.

  • Contractors and the winter challenge 
  • Managing risk and margins in winter service
  • Value whatever the weather

Harvey Cullen, General Manager for Central & NW Tarmac Highways Services, HTMA

13.00 -14.00

Lunch and exhibition viewing

14.00 -14.30

Winter communication

Mark Corbin, key route network manager of Transport for West Midlands, will deliver a presentation on his recent winter service diplomatic missions to other countries. Having carried out fact-finding research, during what almost amounts to a world tour, he will give delegates the benefit of not one but three international comparisons in winter service, particularly in the area of communications.

  • A winter world tour
  • Sweden, Canada and Finland – a story of three winters
  • World-wide communications

Mark Corbin, Key Route Network Manager, Transport for West Midlands

14.30 - 14.55

14.30 - 14.55

Derby City Council’s marketing and communications guru, Georgia Pulford, will be discussing the future of winter service communication, providing a forward-looking analysis on how and where we can progress and answering the big question - how do you keep residents interested when the gritters don’t have names? 

  • The future of winter communications
  • Is the medium the message?
  • How do you keep residents interested when the gritters don’t have names?

Georgia Pulford, Marketing Officer, Derby City Council

15.00 - 15.30

Coffee and exhibition viewing

15.30 - 16.00

Winter IT and data

Deputy chair of the NWSRG, Carol Valentine will give an update on the ADEPT and DfT Live Lab project in her county of Kent. Close to £2m is being spent on the scheme, which involves a centralised digital hub and a Smart Winter programme using sensor technology.

An internet-connected network of temperature sensors has been installed. Now the council aims to optimise existing gritting routes and develop a surface moisture sensor, as well as develop predictive models of road surface treatments that could form the basis of AI-based decision support tools.

  • An update on the ADEPT and DfT Live Lab Smart Winter sensor technology
  • Next steps towards developing a surface moisture sensor 
  • Predictive models of treatments and AI-based tools

Carol Valentine, Highways Project Manager, Kent County Council

16.00 - 16.30

16.00 - 16.30

For the final act of day one, we have honoured guests from Sweden. A delegation of private and public sector winter service professionals will discuss a cutting edge system that uses ABS-sensors to collect friction data. Using normal passenger vehicles, it enables real-time monitoring of vast road networks. The project has been running for the last two winters in collaboration with the Swedish Transport Administration.

  • Honoured guests from Sweden including the Swedish Transport Administration
  • ABS-sensors and collecting friction data using normal passenger vehicles
  • Real-time friction monitoring – research results from two winters

Dan Eriksson, National coordinator Winter Service, Swedish Transport Administration

17.00 - 19.00

Close of day one and evening drinks reception

 We invite all our exhibitors and delegates to join us at the Cold Brewery for complimentary drinks.

Day Two

09.00 - 15.30

09.00 - 15.30

New for 2020, the NWSRG will be delivering an interactive Practitioners Workshop on Day 2 of Cold Comfort. You will have the opportunity to find out more about the new guidance and understand what it contains from those involved in drafting it as well as hear from some authorities who have successfully implemented sections of the guidance. 

This interactive session will give all in attendance the chance to discuss areas of the guidance with fellow colleagues, and have questions answered where clarification is needed. Suppliers will also be on hand to help deliver aspects of the guidance. The more you contribute, the more you will learn!

The workshop is likely to cover some of the following areas of the guidance:

- Spread Rates

- Decision Making

- Treatment Methods (Pre-wet and Treated Salt)

- Calibration

- Forecasting and Road Weather Information Systems

- Planning and route selection

Please note that the workshop will run from 9:30 to 15:30 on Day 2. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity.