Councils appear to be failing to clear local pavements of snow and ice, even around priority areas such older people‟s homes, according to new research by the older people‟s charity Independent Age.

Fewer than 1 in 6 (15%) of UK adults are aware of councils gritting pavements in priority areas such as care homes and schools, and fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) has seen evidence of action to keep other pavements in their area clear. Only two per cent have seen the volunteer „snow wardens‟ which some councils have recruited to help clear ice and snow from streets.

The research also shows that:

  • While 71% are aware of main roads being gritted for vehicles in their area, only 12% are aware of side roads being gritted.
  • Only 26% are aware of local residents clearing pavements in their area.

“Despite a lot of talk from some councils, this research suggests that in many areas, very little is happening to keep pavements safe,” says Simon Bottery, Director of Policy at the charity Independent Age. “For a vulnerable elderly resident, this can mean being trapped in their own home for days on end or risking serious injury just to walk to the local shops. Key walking routes to local destinations should have at least the same priority as main roads when it comes to clearing snow and ice.”

Independent Age supports the Living Streets campaign to keep pavements ice free. It calls for councils to agree a winter contract with communities, committing to:

  • Clearing ice and snow from pavements, particularly the busiest ones near schools, doctors‟ surgeries, shops and bus stops
  • Sending contractors who can‟t carry out their normal jobs in bad weather to clear pavements
  • Providing grit to residents and organising teams of volunteer „snow wardens‟

People can take action to keep their pavements ice-free by joining the Living Streets campaign at

Notes to editors

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1044 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th - 9th February 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

2. Independent Age is a unique and growing charity, providing information, advice and support to thousands of older people across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It has recently merged with two other older people's charities, Counsel and Care and Universal Beneficent Society, to provide a broader range of services than any of the charities could provide separately. For more information visit:

3. The table below shows the question and main findings broken down by region of the UK


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