Clearing snow and ice from pavements yourself

If you clear snow or ice from the pavements and public spaces outside your home follow 'the snow code' to ensure you do it safely.

The snow code

To make sure you clear pathways safely and effectively:

  • clear snow early in the day - it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow
  • don’t use water - it might refreeze and turn to black ice
  • use salt if possible - it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight
  • don’t use the salt from salting bins on paths - it's for keeping roads clear
  • if you don’t have enough salt use ash or sand, which provides grip underfoot
  • to prevent slips pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways

Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. Don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured.

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.

How to clear snow and ice

It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it, so if possible, start removing the snow and ice early in the day.

Remove the top layer of snow in the morning, so sunshine during the day melts any ice beneath. Then cover the path with salt before nightfall, to stop it refreezing overnight.

Don't use water to melt snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice increasing the risk of injuries. Prevent black ice by spreading (table or dishwasher) salt on the area you've cleared - one tablespoon per square metre cleared should work.

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

If you don’t have enough salt, use sand or ash. While these won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, they can provide good grip under foot.

When shovelling snow ensure the piles don’t block paths or drains. Make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.

Clearing neighbouring paths

If you're able to offer help ask your neighbours if they'd like you to clear snow and ice around their property as well.

Check elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact adult social care.

Volunteer snow wardens

Volunteer snow wardens are residents who give up some of their time to clear snow during bad weather.

Also see

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