Lambeth’s winter service runs from 1 November to 31 March when we are on standby to try and keep our roads and streets clear of snow or ice.

Daily forecasts from Metdesk combined with local topographic knowledge allow officers to make informed decisions on when to treat roads and pavements over the winter period.

We apply salt to the main routes before ice forms or snow falls in a pre-determined priority order across the borough. Our key objectives are to:

  • Direct resources to the busiest roads and streets first.
  • Take preventative measures when severe frost, ice or snow is forecast.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Winter service

Lambeth’s Winter Service runs from 1 November to 31 March. Over this period there will be engineers and operatives on standby. They will both try to ensure that snow or ice does not endanger safe passage on Lambeth's highways.

The engineers understand Lambeth's physical features and how to interpret weather forecasts. They will decide on when to treat highways. If they expect ice to form or snow to fall, they will direct operatives to apply grit on prioritised routes. These roads will be in either busy areas or places with steep hills.

2. When do we grit?

We only apply grit if the road surface temperature could fall below 1°C. This temperature may be different to the air temperature. Roads retain heat and do not cool down as quickly as a vehicle. So, frost on a car would be a misleading guide on whether to grit a road.

Frost usually affects road surfaces when it is either late in the evening or early in the morning. So, we aim to apply grit overnight, when road traffic is lighter than it is during the day.

Winter service vehicles distribute salt across a carriageway's full width. If road users follow a gritting vehicle, they should keep at a safe distance from it. They should also exercise great care when overtaking it and be mindful of operatives.

3. Which roads are gritted?

Transport for London apply grit to Lambeth's Strategic Routes, which we have marked in red on our map. We are responsible for all of the other public highways.

Given the scale of operations, it is not reasonably practicable to:

  • Provide the winter service on all parts of the road network

  • Ensure all surfaces are kept free of ice or snow at all times

For these reasons, we have prioritised our carriageways in the following order:

  • Priority 1 – Our main roads.
  • Priority 2 –Busy roads with either emergency services, transport hubs, schools, steep hills or support town centres.
  • Priority 3 – All other roads that are not included in either of the priority 1 or 2 routes. We will only grit these highways when a severe weather event is forecast.

Priority 1 and 2 maps by area

Area 1 - Streatham Hill to West Norwood

Area 2 - Brixton Hill, Clapham Common to Streatham Vale

Area 3 - Kennington, Brixton to Tulse Hill

Area 4 - Waterloo, Stockwell to Clapham Town

4. Which footways are gritted and cleared of snow?

We apply footway grit with hand shovels rather than by vehicles. For this reason, we have placed grit bins around the borough. Our aim is to treat footway locations that have any of the below features:

  • Emergency Services
  • Transport Hubs
  • Town Centres
  • Schools
  • Sheltered Housing Locations
  • Steep hills

Footway priorities and features wards map.

5. Prolonged Severe Weather Conditions

If the UK experiences a severe winter and national grit supplies run low, the Department for Transport may take control of Lambeth's grit stock. They would only distribute it on London's Resilience Routes. To mitigate the risk of grit stocks running out, we have introduced three measures:

  • We maintain a large stockpile of salt at the Milkwood Road Depot.

  • We have identified Lambeth's Resilience Route.

  • Lambeth’s Resilience Route is 50% shorter than our standard Priority 1 and 2 routes.

6. Who to contact

Transport for London (TfL) handles the Strategic Routes in Lambeth. You can contact them on 020 7941 4500.

For enquiries about Lambeth’s Winter Service, please call 020 7926 9000.

7. Volunteer snow wardens

We are looking for volunteers to become Snow Wardens. They clear ice and snow from footways to keep your streets safe. You can volunteer either as a group or as an individual. You will receive free training and equipment. To become a Snow Warden either e-mail snowwardens@lambeth.gov.uk or telephone 020 7926 0524.