Severe weather

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice from the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely that you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully. People using areas affected by snow and ice also have a responsibility to be careful themselves.

  • Start early: it is much easier to remove fresh, loose snow compared to compacted ice that has been compressed by people walking on it.
  • Do not use hot water. This will melt the snow, but may replace it with black ice, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Be a good neighbour: some people may be unable to clear snow and ice on paths leading to their property.
  • If shovelling snow, consider where you are going to put it, so that it does not block people's paths, or block drainage channels.
  • Make a pathway down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then you can shovel the snow from the center to the sides.
  • Spreading some salt on the area you have cleared will help to prevent any ice forming. Table salt or dishwasher salt will work, but avoid spreading on plants or grass as they may be damaged by it.
  • Particular care and attention should be given to steps and steep gradients to ensure snow and ice is removed.
  • Use the sun to your advantage. Removing the top layer of snow will allow the sun to melt any ice beneath; however you will need to cover any ice with salt to stop it refreezing overnight.
  • If there is no salt available, then a little sand or ash is a reasonable substitute. It will not have the same de-icing properties as salt but should offer grip under foot.

Keeping up to date with information during severe weather

  • Blackburn with Darwen Council provides a winter service from October through to March.
  • Our staff work round the clock during the winter months to keep the roads clear.
  • We monitor the weather closely and where temperatures are due to plummet below zero, we spread salt on the roads to prevent ice and snow forming.
  • If snow settles, then the ploughs are used to clear the roads.
  • Salt bins are also provided at certain locations to assist road users and residents on a self-help basis.

Snow clearance: government advice