Winter weather and gritting

The council has a winter service procedure in place to deal with frost, hoar frost and snow fall which would be expected most winters.

Roads (carriageways)

When there is frost on the roads or when snow falls in the borough, we will spread salt, which is sometimes called grit, on various roads in the borough. The roads that we will salt are described on the ‘winter maintenance service for carriageways’. Map showing gritted roads.

It is not practicable to plough in the borough because of traffic islands, parked vehicles and the needs of pedestrians.

The council is responsible for most roads, except major roads such as the A13 and A12, which are the responsibility of Transport for London.

Pavements (footways)

When snow falls and it is too slippery to sweep, our road sweepers will salt footways instead with the following areas prioritised:

  • Hospital and health centre/ surgery entrances
  • School entrances
  • Care homes /day centres for elderly and / or disabled residents
  • Children's centres
  • Pharmacies
  • Around busy public transport areas (excl TfL areas), Idea Stores and other areas of high footfall

The network of footways that we will salt is described in the ‘Winter maintenance network for footways’. See a map of footways we will salt.

Estate roads and pavements

Estate roads and pavements are looked after by the landlord rather than the council. Therefore, you should take any queries about gritting of roads or pavements in these areas to your landlord.

What you can do to help

In the past there was a risk that if anyone tried to help by removing snow from outside their house, neighbour’s house or business and then someone fell, then they could be held responsible by that person. To avoid this problem the Department for Transport has issued guidance about what members of the public and businesses can do to help in the event of snow. It’s largely common sense and recommends sweeping away snow before it has become compacted. It asks people not to pour boiling water on the pavement as this can freeze to form ice.

If there is a national salt shortage

The council has secured good supplies of salt. However, if there is a shortage across London then we may be asked to share what we have with those who do not have enough. We may also be asked to reduce the amount of salt we spread and reduce the length  of the roads and pavements that we salt to what is known as the Resilience network for carriageways and resilience areas for footways.


To report any problems with roads or pavements contact the council on 020 7364 5000. To contact the council’s social care team telephone 020 7364 5000 or email:

More information