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Having followed the links to the government reports I'm saddened to report that the most useful and telling piece of info is probably the DfT's disclaimer:

Although this report was commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT), the findings and
recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the DfT.
While the DfT has made every effort to ensure the information in this document is accurate, DfT does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of that information; and it cannot accept liability for any loss or damages of any kind resulting from reliance on the information or guidance this document contains.

That said, aspects that are worthy of further consideration include:

99. Just as supplies of road salt were severely stretched across Europe in winter 2009/10, so were the
aviation sector’s de-icing materials. Some airports came within hours of running out and we heard
that only through the use of alternative, less environmentally desirable, products were some
runways and aprons kept clear.

115. ...permanent adoption of lower salt spread...

The aviation sector
Recommendation 22: That the Civil Aviation Authority considers how it might develop its currently published performance data to improve the presentation, commentary and interpretation of airline performance information, to inform passengers and the market and encourage improvements across the industry.

Salt and the supply chain
Recommendation 23: The review of best practice and technical standards recommended in the Interim Report as a task for the UK Roads Liaison Group should be given added urgency, focusing on research which would underpin recommendations for the adoption of lower salt spread rates as a strategic initiative to improve resilience of the salt supply chain; together with a timescale for adoption in early 2011.

Effect of achieved 20% reduction in salt spread rates.

12.16 On the face of it, the benefits could be more than twice the incremental costs. And while the
analysis does not support a generic case for increasing expenditure on winter resilience, especially as the benefits are not reflected back in highway authority budgets, it is possible nevertheless to draw the following general conclusions:
The economic and social costs associated with winter disruption are high, and specific well targeted
measures to manage disruption are likely to offer high value for money;
The costs and benefits of particular increments are sensitive to a number of assumptions and
the case for investment will vary considerably from area to area. This suggests there is not a
‘one size fits all’ solution for the country;
The analysis would suggest that more extensive clearance in areas of significant traffic flows
particularly subject to snow, and more treatment of key footway routes where pedestrian flows are high, could deliver worthwhile benefits. Snow clearance benefits arise, of course, only in more severe (and less frequent) winters with many snow events, so measures which limit the ‘base’ cost of maintaining this capability even if it is relatively costly when brought into action, would seem a good approach.

My overview:
The target date of 'early 2011' was too soft.
For the cost of this report we might have hoped for a better outcome than 'spread 20% less salt and test if that's effective'.

And today's government wants to 'audit' the above... once you've read it you'll understand that you can audit (polish) a useless report all you like but it won't create anything useful.

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