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Clearing ice and snow from footways

There's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the footway outside your home or from public spaces. If you clear snow and ice carefully you are unlikely to be held liable.

Tips on clearing ice and snow

  • clear ice/snow early in the day: Loose snow is easier removed than hard snow which has packed together from people walking on it
  • use salt or sand – not water: If you use water to melt the snow, it may refreeze and turn to black ice which is invisible and very slippery
  • take care where you move the snow: When you are shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains
  • prevent slips: Pay extra attention to clear ice and snow from steps and steep pathways – you might need to use more salt on these areas

Clearing ice and snow from footways

Transport NI (formerly known as Roads Service) does not normally salt footways but where resources permit will work with Councils during prolonged periods of snow and ice to clear footways in busy town centres.

People often ask if legally they can clear snow and ice. The fact is there’s no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces.

In 2010, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland advised if you clear snow/ice carefully you are unlikely to be held liable.

Commercial property owners in particular should make sure that they have adequate supplies of salt in place to ensure the safety of employees and visitors.

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