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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Snow and ice - travel and local services updates

  • Published: Thursday, 23 December 2010

Snow and ice may be affecting roads, public transport and services such as schools and bin collections in your area. Cold weather can also be dangerous for elderly and vulnerable people. Find out if services are affected in your area, your rights if you can't get to work, and what you can do to stay safe and warm this winter.

Local services

Local services such as bin collections, community meals (sometimes known as meals on wheels) and leisure facilities may be affected by severe weather.

Follow the link below to find out how services have been affected in your area.

Clearing snow and ice yourself – the 'snow code'

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.

Remember, people walking on snow and ice have responsibility to be careful themselves.

Follow the link below for advice on clearing paths and public spaces safely and effectively.

Keeping safe and warm

Staying warm in winter

Health advice and tips for coping with wintery weather

Last year an estimated 25,400 people died from illnesses linked to cold weather.

Elderly and disabled people, particularly those with serious illnesses, are most at risk from cold weather.

By taking just a few simple steps you can dramatically reduce the danger of cold weather. Top tips include:

  • keeping curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts
  • having regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day to keep your energy levels up
  • wearing several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer)

Follow the links below for more advice about keeping warm and healthy during cold weather.

Help with heating your home

If you are over 60, disabled, or on a low income, you may be able to get financial help with heating your home. For example, you may be entitled to a Cold Weather Payment, a Winter Fuel Payment or an energy grant.

You may also be able to get benefits that help you make home improvements, such as insulation.

Find out about the schemes and benefits available, and if you are eligible for help.

Check on neighbours, friends and relatives

It’s often the people most at risk from cold weather who are least willing to ask for help, possibly because they don’t want to be seen as a burden.

Make the first move in checking on vulnerable friends an neighbours during cold weather:

  • check on them regularly to make sure they’re safe and well
  • make sure they're warm enough, especially at night
  • stock up on food and medicines

If there is an emergency, always dial 999. However, if it isn’t an emergency you may want to contact your GP, a local pharmacy or NHS Direct. For NHS Direct, follow the link below or call 0845 4647.

Travel update

Direct to your mobile

Text TRAVEL to 83377 for the latest on delays on roads and public transport. Standard network rates apply


With cold temperatures across the country, many areas are experiencing icy roads and pavements.

For tips and advice on safe driving and keeping safe on the roads during extreme weather, follow the 'driving safety' link below.

For live travel news, visit the Transport Direct website by following the link below.

If you are on the move and have a smart phone, use Directgov’s Travel News app to get travel updates on trains, roads, tubes, trams and ferries straight to your phone.


You are advised to check how services are operating before travelling. Follow the link below for the latest information on service disruption.

Travel news mobile app

Directgov's free travel news app for smart phones


If you are due to fly, check with your tour operator, airline and airport before setting out to see if your flight and airport are operating normally.   

If you're delayed at the airport because of bad weather, you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. Check your travel insurance to see if you are covered.

For further advice on what to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed, follow the 'UK flight services' link below.

Disruption to travel in Europe

Check directly with the airport, your airline or travel operator for the latest information before travelling.

Travel disruption and your rights at work

If severe weather means you can't get to work, try to reach an agreement with your employer.

For example, you could work from home or another location, take a day's annual leave or take the day as unpaid holiday.

Whatever is agreed, your employer must treat all employees and workers equally. If your employer offers the option of unpaid leave or flexible working this should be available to all workers.

Find out more about travel disruption and your rights at work.

Weather forecast

Met Office severe weather warnings

Heavy snow continues to affect many parts of the UK, while cold temperatures and icy roads and pavements are affecting most of the country.

For a detailed weather forecast, visit the Met Office website by following the link below.

Practical driving tests

Some practical driving tests may be affected by winter weather over the next few days. This is because the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) doesn’t conduct practical driving tests in adverse weather conditions.

If your practical test is cancelled it will automatically be rearranged at no further cost to you.

As well as causing cancellations, the bad weather is likely to lead to longer waiting times in some areas. Everything is being done to keep waiting times to a minimum.

Follow the link below for further information.

Passport deliveries during severe weather

There may be slight delays in the delivery of some passports as a result of the severe weather.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is working with its partners to try and ensure delivery of passports within the time timescales given.

For further information on passport deliveries, visit the IPS website. For information on deliveries in your area, visit the DX or Royal Mail websites.

If you are travelling urgently and haven't received your passport, contact the Advice Line on 0300 222 0000 for further advice.

Advice to pet and horse owners

Where pets (such as rabbits and guinea pigs) are normally kept outside in hutches during mild winters, think about moving them into garages or sheds where it is warmer.

Where cages can’t be moved, add extra protection or insulation to keep them warm. It’s also important to ensure a supply of drinking water. Ice should be cleared from drinking water containers and the spouts should be defrosted regularly.

As with farmed livestock, horses and ponies usually kept outside during the winter should have access to shelter at all times, with regular supplies of food and water. If enough food and water can’t be provided outside, move them or have them stabled.

In an emergency you should contact the RSPCA for help and advice.

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