Clearing snow and ice


Gritting roads in Suffolk when ice or snow is forecast is the responsibility of Suffolk County Council (in partnership with Ipswich Borough Council in the Ipswich area). The exceptions to this are the trunk roads in the county (A11, A12 south of Ipswich and north of Lowestoft, and A14) which are the responsibility of the Highways Agency.

All A and B roads and busy commuter and bus routes are gritted when ice or snow is forecast. If ice or snow continues Suffolk County Council will treat other roads, but only when traffic is moving freely and safely on main roads.

Spreading salt on the roads helps to prevent or remove ice, but becomes less effective as temperatures reduce. In exceptionally low temperatures, salt may have little or no effect and it may be necessary to spread grit to give more grip on the ice rather than trying to melt it.

When snow is more than 50mm deep, it needs to be mechanically removed by ploughing or digging. There are practical limitations to what can be achieved, and priority is always given to roads carrying the most traffic or important bus routes.

You can find details of gritting routes and how roads are prioritised for treatment on Suffolk County Council's website.

In very severe conditions there could be considerable delay in clearing snow from some minor roads. As well as using their own equipment, Suffolk County Council has contracts with farmers and contractors across the county to help with clearing snow and ice.

In severe snow conditions, they will carry out snow ploughing throughout the night to try to keep the most important roads passable (this is normally confined to the busier A class roads). They also clear snow from heavily used pavements, with main shopping streets in town centres given the highest priority, followed by other town pavements and well used cycle tracks.

Clearing snow and ice - Advice for homeowners and community groups

If you want to clear snow and ice on the pavement outside your property follow the snow code. For community groups clearing snow from public spaces, footpaths or road junctions, you will need to follow the Suffolk County Council Community Preparedness Winter Gritting Pack when clearing snow and ice. 

Whether as an individual or group activity it's unlikely you'll be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the footways and highway provided you have cleared it carefully as per the guidance. 

Grit bins and grit heaps

The location of grit bins and grit heaps are agreed by Suffolk County Council with parish councils so local people can treat known trouble spots that otherwise would be a lower priority. Requests for grit bins are only accepted from a town or parish council or a county councillor. More details can be found on Suffolk County Council's website.

Suffolk County Council Reporting Tool 

Individuals or community groups should use the Suffolk County Council reporting tool to report issues with highways, gritting and snow clearance. Alternatively call the public helpline on 0345 606 6171.