Winter Portal | Clearing Snow and Ice


The law on clearing snow and ice from public spaces

Department for Transport recently published new guidance about clearing snow outside your property, pathways to your property or public spaces. The guidance said there is no law stopping you from doing this.

If an accident did happen, it's highly unlikely that you would be sued as long as you:

  • are careful
  • use common sense to make sure that you don't make the pavement or pathway clearly more dangerous than before

People using areas affected by snow and ice also have responsibility to be careful themselves.

If you are going to remove snow and ice, here are some tips:

  • start as early as possible - it's much easier to clear fresh, loose snow compared to compacted ice that has been compressed by people walking on it
  • don’t 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 from their property
  • if shovelling snow, think where you are going to put it so that it doesn’t block people’s paths or drainage channels
  • make a pathway down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on
  • spreading some salt on the area you have cleared will help stop ice forming - table salt or dishwasher salt will work, but avoid spreading on plants or grass as they may be damaged by it
  • pay particular care and attention to steps and steep gradients
  • 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's no salt available, sand or ash are good alternatives

Advice on page_white_acrobat.png clearing paths & driveways from Transport Scotland.

Useful websites