Could you become a Snow Angel and help ensure paths are kept clear for people this winter?

In the winter, many older people or those with mobility issues stop going out for fear of slipping on icy or snowy pavements.

An older person walking with a stick

Contact your council

Councils have a legal duty to ensure that safe movement along the footway is not endangered by snow or ice.

Living Streets wants to see:

Clear pavements and paths serving key local destinations; given at least the same priority as key roads in relevant plans and winter maintenance schedules.

Contractors unable to carry out their main jobs in bad weather sent to help clear icy pavements.

Councils helping residents do their bit by making sure grit is available, encouraging people to clear the street outside their property and helping organise volunteer teams of snow angels.

Write to your council

Write to your local council - visit their website to find out which department is responsible for highway maintenance - and remind them of their legal duty to ensure the footways are kept safe.

We have prepared a template letter for you. Just download it, personalise the copy and send it to your council.

Download template letter - DOC

People walking

Grit it yourself

 

The small act of putting down a little grit or salt, or clearing clear snow and ice from pavements when the cold weather hits, can make a big difference. A clear pavement means that an older person can still meet friends and get to the shops rather than being left isolated, lonely and inactive.

So spread your wings, get your halo polished, and salt, shake and walk your way to ice-free pavements.

Gritting tips

  1. Grit = salt
  2. Where to grit
  3. When to grit
  4. How to grit
  5. Paws for thought
  • When we say grit, think salt - the normal kitchen variety will do. One sack should be enough for two winters.

    You can stock up yourself, but it's worth also contacting your local council to provide salt or grit for this purpose. We want councils to treat pavements as seriously as they do roads, after all.

  • Before the snow or ice arrives, decide on the area of pavement or pathway you plan to cover. Choose areas where local residents need it most such as close to local schools and care homes.

  • Grit when frost, ice or snow is forecast if possible or when walkways are likely to be damp or wet and the floor temperatures are at, or below freezing. The best times of the day to grit are early in the evening before the frost settles or early in the morning, before people start leaving their houses.

    When the snow comes, start early. It is much easier to remove fresh, loose snow rather than compacted ice that has been compressed by people walking on it.

    Don’t grit when it’s raining heavily as the salt will be washed away.

  • Spreading your salt (or angel dust!) over the cleared area will help to prevent any ice forming. A cupful of salt (100 g/4 oz) per square metre is plenty. It is not advisable to re-salt an area of pavement over a short period of time.

    Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may damage them.

    If removing snow, consider where you are going to put it, so that it does not block paths or drainage channels.

  • Salt used to melt ice on driveways, pavements and roads can lead to chemical burns on dog paws.

    If your dog is limping by end of a walk, de-icing products may be hurting its feet. Try to keep your dog off the salty footways (think grass or snow) whenever possible. At the end of your walk wipe your dog’s paws thoroughly with a damp cloth.

    There are various types of paw wax available that can is applied to the pads of the feet before a walk, forming a protective barrier between the paw and the salty pavement.

THE LEGAL SITUATION

Government guidance, set out in the 2010 Snow Code, states that it’s unlikely that you’ll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully.

To find out how to clear responsibly, and minimise risk to yourself and others, have a look at the government's Snow Code.