Snow clearance and gritting

Snow clearance and gritting

Snow and ice can cause disruption to our day to day lives in the city. This page has details about what you can do in snowy conditions and what the councils' responsibilities are.

Gritting routes in Newcastle

Whilst every effort is made to treat the roads detailed on this plan, this may not be possible in severe weather or when other circumstances are out of our control. 

We’ve worked out which roads are crucial to keep Newcastle working in severe weather. If there is heavy snowfall over a long period of time, we’ll concentrate on gritting the five main routes across the city, for example the central motorway, the Coast Road and Scotswood Road. We’ll only return to the other roads when we know that those main routes are clear.

Gritting route map (pdf, 44.3mb)

Requests for gritting

Please contact us at if you need any further information.

There are 600 miles of roads and 1,100 miles of footpath in the city. We cannot grit the entire network or respond to every request, this is why we have the priority gritting routes to help keep the city moving.

Gritting pavements

We’ve already identified footpaths in each ward where we’ll be concentrating on gritting or removing snow. These are mainly busy areas and around shopping areas and links to public transport, like main bus routes.

Winter Services Policy

More information about all aspects of winter services including grit bin provisions can be found in:

Our Winter Services Policy outlines the service levels of where and when the Council will provide winter services to the adopted highway in accordance with the recommendations in the Well-managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice.

Driving in bad weather

Road users should take increased precautions when driving in poor weather conditions, especially in frost, ice or snow.

Grit Supplies

Usually we only need 8,000 tonnes of rock salt (grit) over the winter months, but we monitor our levels every week and will reorder when needed. If the weather across the country is really bad for a long time, grit can be sometimes difficult to get. When this happens, the national government steps in to decide how much replacement stocks of rock salt we will receive.

Using grit bins

If you have a grit bin near to your house you can use it on public paths and roads. Please don’t use it on your own property and other private areas. The grit bins we provide are to help keep housing estates, cul-de-sacs and lanes clear.

Grit bins will be refilled if weather reports indicate this is necessary. They will not be refilled on request.

We are reviewing our grit bin provision for 2019 so any requests for grit bins to be moved or reports of damaged bins will be addressed as part of this review.

Most major DIY stores sell grit which residents can purchase and use on their own property.

Can I shovel away the snow outside my house?

Please do. We would like to thank residents who have done this in previous years. In doing so they helped others also using the footpath. We value your contributions to keeping the footpaths and roads free of snow. However, please remember not to create hazards with the snow you remove. People need spaces to cross the road and find it tough to get over piles of frozen snow. Please do not block your neighbours gates, paths and drives.

Useful tips for clearing snow

  • Clear the snow or ice early in the day. It’s easier to move fresh, loose snow rather than hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it.
  • Use salt or sand, not water. Use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work.  Water may refreeze and turn to black ice. 
  • If you don’t have enough salt, you can also use sand or ash. These won’t stop the path icing over as well as salt, but will provide good grip under foot.
  • When you’re shovelling snow, take care where you put it so it doesn’t block people’s paths or drains. Make sure you make a path down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then shovel the snow from the centre of the path to the sides.
  • Offer to clear your neighbours’ paths especially if they are elderly or disabled. You could also check on them in the cold weather. If you are concerned about them you should contact us.

How we get our weather forecasts

We have two weather stations located within Newcastle. These stations supply weather information to our weather forecast provider. This information is used to produce our weather forecasts which give:

  • An early morning indication of the next 24 hour weather forecast;
  • A 24 hour forecast which details expected weather conditions; and
  • A longer range two to five day forecast.

Need more information?

Please contact us at if you need any further information or want to make a request.

Please note that there are 600 miles of roads and 1,100 miles of footpath in the city. We cannot grit the entire network or respond to every request, this is why we have the priority gritting routes to help keep the city moving.

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