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Dealing with Winter Weather

Winter Cold Weather payments - latest information.

The Snow Code - Tips on Clearing Snow and Ice From Pavements or Public Spaces

There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces. It's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully and follow the snow code when clearing snow and ice safely.

TO PREVENT SLIPS Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways - you might need

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to use more salt on these areas.
If you clear snow and ice yourself, be careful - don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze. But don’t be put off clearing paths because you’re afraid someone will get injured. Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves. Follow the advice below to make sure you clear the pathway safely and effectively.

Pay extra attention to clear snow and ice from steps and steep pathways - you might need to use more salt on these areas.

CLEAR SNOW OR ICE ON THE DAY 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 in the morning. If you remove the top layer of snow in the morning, any sunshine during the day will help melt any ice beneath. You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight.

USE SALT OR SAND - NOT WATER If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice. Black ice increases the risk of injuries as it is invisible and very slippery. You can prevent black ice by spreading some salt on the area you have cleared. You can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work. Don’t use the salt found in salting bins - this will be needed to keep the roads clear.

Be careful not to spread salt on plants or grass as it may cause them damage. If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.

TAKE CARE WHERE YOU MOVE THE SNOW When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you 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.

OFFER TO CLEAR YOUR NEIGHBOURS' PATHS If your neighbour will have difficulty getting in and out of their home, offer to clear snow and ice around their property as well. Check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright in the cold weather. If you’re worried about them, contact your local council.

Footpaths and Pavements

Public footpaths and pavements are the responsibility of Leicester County Council Highways and Transport. Their policy in winter weather for pavements is that no precautionary salting is carried out on footways. They will normally only receive treatment at times when ice or snow lying on the footway is likely to persist. Such work shall only be undertaken on the following footways using available resources:

  • Main shopping areas
  • Adjacent to heavily trafficked roads where the footway has high pedestrian usage
  • Outside hospitals, schools and similar locations where there are heavy concentrations of pedestrians
  • Outside health clinics, elderly persons dwellings homes for the blind or similar locations where there is above use by the elderly, infirm or disabled.  On steep gradients (10% or greater)

Visit the website for advice on clearing snow and ice from footpaths yourself.

Winter Advice to the Elderly

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Frozen Water

You can read some sensible advice on how to look after your house in a cold snap at: In addition, the dangers of frozen canals, lakes, ponds and other bodies of water are real and we advise that people should stay off the ice. The ornamental ponds in our parks and gardens are very tempting to the young and present very real hazards. British Waterways has also warned of the dangers near rivers and canals, and has asked that children and dogs are kept well away from the water’s edge.

Roads Maintenance

Leicestershire County Council is responsible for snow clearance and gritting, details of their plans, including maps showing gritted routes, can be found on the County Council's website During heavy snow the County Council has 54 snow ploughs which are fitted to the fleet of salting and construction vehicles. These vehicles are supported by over 50 farmers who are provided with snow ploughs for their powerful four wheel drive tractors. These farmers are strategically located and plough snow from agreed routes. Winter Maintenance supervisors are provided with a database of additional resources available from plant hire and construction companies. Resources are concentrated initially on strategic routes with routes of lesser importance being cleared subsequently.

The County Council’s target is to open all major routes within 24 hours of the end of heavy snowfall. If you are forced to abandon your car in severe weather try to inform the Police by calling 0116 222 2222. You can also obtain up to date road reports from the County Council’s Roadline on 0800 626203

Car Maintenance

 Follow our tips for safe driving and keeping your car in fine fettle this winter

Keeping your car healthy

According to the AA, up to 10,000 vehicles could be forced off the road by faults caused by extreme cold this winter.

With temperatures falling as winter approaches, the AA says call-outs to breakdowns caused by extreme cold-related faults such as frozen engines are up to ten times more common during a cold snap.

The risk of breaking down is significantly higher if a car has not had a recent service, with engines and cooling systems, windscreen cleaning systems, locks, handbrake cables and even diesel fuel susceptible to freezing.

With the Met office predicting the coldest winter in almost a decade it's vital to keep your car healthy.

AA Advice

Engine/cooling system - check antifreeze levels. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water will protect the engine down to -34C

Handbrake - check for damage to handbrake cable covering. Cables should be changed if water has penetrated

Washers and wipers - a 50/50 mix of additive to water is needed in very cold weather. Switch wipers off when parked in frost. If ice forms on the wipers, doing so prevents damaging blades or overheating the wiper motor when the car is started

Locks - oil door and boot locks and spray with water repellent to prevent freezing. Similarly for bonnet and fuel cap

Diesel - can become waxy and unusable below -15C. Some additives can lower this temperature. If possible, garage your vehicle in extreme cold

Check - oil level, battery, lights, and tyre tread and pressures
Speed - drive only as fast as conditions allow. Stopping distances are ten times longer in ice and snow

This winter has already seen a mix of snow and mild spells but is far from over. Excellent advice for the elderly can be found on the NHS Choices website or by reading Keep Warm Keep Well

We recommend that all with responsibilities for the care of the elderly also read these.

Further advice can be obtained from the Preparing for Emergencies leaflet  and you can get up to date weather information from the Met Office.

Thought about how you can cut your winter heating bills? See for advice on how to get grants to a range of heat saving or solar powered heat sources schemes

  • Check your route and the weather forecast before you travel
  • Listen to the travel news while you are on the road
  • Make sure you're prepared with a winter weather kit - including warm clothes, boots, food and drink, de-icer and an ice scraper

However, it is worth stressing that if severe weather strikes, DON'T drive unless your journey is absolutely essential

Last updated: Fri 19th April, 2013 @ 14:11

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