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Practical Guidance and Research

Current Work 

The NWSRG Practical Guide for Winter Service

In 2010 the NWSRG recognised that generally available guidance in the UK and the Code of Practice did not represent the advances that had been made in understanding how to deliver more efficient and economical winter service. The NWSRG therefore proposed to produce a new best practice guide for its members, making use of the latest research, trial results and the wide experience available within the group from members, consultants, researchers and industry associates.

The philosophy for the format of the Practical Guide was that it would be sufficiently detailed for users to understand the principals on which the guidance was based while readily accessible and easily understood when used for day to day delivery of services. Consequently, the Practical Guide has been written to provide quick and highly visible access to a range of Key Facts, Recommendations and Warnings along with Tables, Checklists, Diagrams and Matrices that allow users to quickly refer to the essential information required for service delivery without having to go  through all the accompanying detail. However, all the supporting detailed information is included, generally as a series of bullet points, so that users may understand and appreciate why this represents best practice.

The Practical Guide consists of a number of Chapters each containing several sections, each section being posed as a question. New chapters are being added so that all aspects of winter service will be covered. Following the decision to transfer national guidance to the Practical Guide the NWSRG are completing a review of the existing chapters to ensure that all relevant aspects of winter service covered in Well-maintained Highways are updated and included in them.

Development and updating of the guidance goes through a rigorous development, review and approval process. All work is overseen by the NWSRG Steering Group with support  from the Technical Advisory Group. Working Groups are also formed for the steering and development of individual tasks.  (Further details of these can be found here on the NWSRG website)

Initial development and drafting for each chapter is carried out by NWSRG consultants working with members and industry associates, a Working Group is set up to oversee the day-to-day work on each chapter. Each Chapter undergoes six levels of review and approval (and if necessary this is an iterative process accounting for each level of review feedback).

The levels of review and approval are:

  • Internal Principal Research Consultant Technical Quality Review
  • NWSRG Technical Advisor Review and approval for Steering Group Review
  • NWSRG Steering Group Review 
  • NWSRG Technical Advisor Final Review
  • NWSRG Chairman and Technical Advisor Approval for use by members
  • UKRLG Review and Approval for general publication as National Guidance



Earlier Work Phases

Two previous phases of research have been completed and reports are currently available to NWSRG members.  Details of the work carried out can be found below.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the research, carried out from 2001 to 2005, concentrated on trials to advance understanding of salt and spreader performance. The trials enabled an assessment to be made of different salt distribution systems and de-icers, and the effects of trafficking on residual salt levels. A report on the trials and a best practice guide on spreading salt were produced.

Phase 2

Phase 2 ran until the end of 2009. The work carried out included trials to assess the dissolution rates of various salts, further road trials to assess residual salt levels after different levels of trafficking, trials to determine the effect of de-icer products on skidding resistance, comparative performance trials of dry salt, pre-wetted salt and additive treated salt and a state-of-the-art review of road surface sensor systems, including residual salt measurement. Individual reports were produced for each of the work areas and a summary report produced at the end of Phase 2.