Cold and winter weather is a regular risk in the UK. Severe weather can happen quickly, and can cause major disruption to homes, families and communities. It is important that you are prepared for any cold weather, particularly in the months of December to February.
Public Health England review and update their national planning arrangements and associated guidance regularly to ensure it remains current. The plan helps prevent the major avoidable effects on health during periods of cold weather in England. The Cold Weather Plan for England contains practical things we can all do to minimise the risks to our health during winter.
Information on preparing for winter can be found on the Met Office website
Seasonal flu vaccine information is available on the NHS website.
- insulate pipes to stop them from freezing (Water UK provides advice on frozen pipes)
- get your boiler serviced and bleed the radiators
- know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water
- check your smoke alarm is working (arrange a Safe and Well visit from the Fire Service)
- keep your radio, mobile phone, laptop or tablet charged in case of power failure
- prepare a list of emergency numbers
- make sure you have enough medication in case you can't leave home
- stock up on non-perishable items
- put grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to reduce the risk of slipping
Information on our road gritting procedures and routes can be found on our gritting page. We also provide and stock grit bins for use on the public highway.
You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. It’s unlikely that you’ll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully. Read government advice on clearing snow.
Out and about
- look out for ice and take extra care
- wear multiple layers to protect you from the cold
- wear sensible footwear with grips on the soles
- consider fitting a grab rail if you have steps at your front or back door
- make sure you're visible to other road users
- read our winter cycling advice
- plan your journey and check for disruptions on your route
- allow extra time for your journey
- make sure your tyres are in good condition
- check your fuel, water, oil and brake fluid levels
- check your heater, lights, brakes and exhaust are all working
- pack emergency supplies, including a torch, blanket, spade, water and food
- check with the service provider before starting your journey
- be prepared for delays and cancellations