New guidance published on the Directgov website today, regarding clearing snow and ice from the pavement, makes it clear that "there's no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home or from public spaces". It also tries to ease people's worries about being sued if someone falls over by pointing out that you're unlikely to be "held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if you have cleared it carefully".
The advice has been called 'the snow code' - it is a set of tips on clearing snow and ice from pavements or public spaces.
Key advice is to make sure you "don’t make the pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze".
It’s easier to move the fresh, loose snow at the start of the day rather than the hard snow that has packed together from people walking on it. You can also cover the cleared path with salt before nightfall to help prevent it from refreezing overnight.
Don't use water to melt the snow - it could refreeze and turn to black ice, which is "invisible and very slippery". This doesn't have to be any special type of salt - "you can use ordinary table or dishwasher salt - a tablespoon for each square metre you clear should work".
The website points out that you shouldn't use the salt found in salting bins as this will be needed to keep the roads clear.
The site reminds you to take care where you put the shovelled snow to make sure it doesn't block people’s paths or drains. Finally it suggests that you offer to clear snow and ice around the property of any neighbours who "will have difficulty getting in and out of their home".