Be winter ready

Cold weather warning

Cold and winter weather is a regular risk in the UK. Severe weather can happen quickly and can cause major disruption to homes, families and communities. It is important that you are prepared for any cold weather, particularly in the months of December to February.

The UK Health Security Agency reviews and updates its national planning arrangements and associated guidance regularly to ensure it remains current. The plan helps prevent the major avoidable effects on health during periods of cold weather in England. The Cold Weather Plan for England contains practical things we can all do to minimise the risks to our health during winter. 

Be well in Winter

Cold weather can impact your health. Exposure to cold temperatures can make your immune system more susceptible to illnesses such as the flu and common cold. Don’t delay treating minor winter illnesses like colds or sore throats. Visit your local pharmacist for advice on treatment and if you are eligible don’t delay in getting your free fu jab and Covid-19 booster. Contact your GP or pharmacist or visit the NHS website.

Cold temperatures can exacerbate certain pre-existing health conditions. Individuals with respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may experience worsening symptoms due to the dry and cold air. It can also affect your cardiovascular system leading to heart attacks and strokes. When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. If you find it difficult to move about, stretching your arms and legs can also help keep you warm.

Make sure your vaccines and your children’s are up to date.  Find out more about free flu and Covid vaccines at seasonal vaccinations

Find more information on child vaccines

Cold weather can also impact mental health. Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours, and family. Reach out if you need any help and tell somebody if you’re feeling under the weather. Find practical tips to help keep well on our Public Health webpages

If you are worried about your health or feeling down, contact your local pharmacist, 111 or your GP, who will all be able to offer advice and support. In an emergency dial 999.

Be alert for family and neighbours living alone

People of all ages can be vulnerable in bad weather. Disabilities and health conditions can be hidden. Tips to help people you know who live alone:

  • offer to be their ICE (in case of emergency) contact
  • offer to be their emergency friend
  • check in on them
  • help with food shopping, collecting medication and getting to important appointments


Be warm this winter

Ideally your home and those of elderly relatives and neighbours should be at least 18°C. During cold spells, keep your windows closed at night as this can cause a real drop in the temperature indoors. If you have a heating boiler, consider getting it serviced.

Things you can do to help stay warm:

Be safe this winter

Information on preparing for winter can be found on Advice - Met Office website

At home

  • insulate pipes to stop them from freezing (Thames Water provides advice on frozen pipes)
  • get your boiler serviced and bleed the radiators
  • know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water
  • check your smoke alarm is working (complete the online Fire Service home checker)
  • keep your radio, mobile phone, laptop or tablet charged in case of power failure
  • prepare a list of emergency numbers
  • make sure you have enough medication in case you cannot leave home
  • stock up on non-perishable items
  • put grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to reduce the risk of slipping


Out and about

Getting outside is great for our health but weather can turn quickly so follow these tips. You can find more tips on WeatherReady - Met Office website


  • look out for ice and take extra care
  • wear multiple layers to protect you from the cold
  • wear sensible footwear with grips on the soles
  • consider fitting a grab rail if you have steps at your front or back door


  • plan your journey and check for disruptions on your route
  • allow extra time for your journey
  • make sure your tyres are in good condition
  • check your fuel, water, oil and brake fluid levels
  • check your heater, lights, brakes and exhaust are all working
  • pack emergency supplies, including a torch, blanket, spade, water and food

Always check public transport before travelling at Southeastern railway or Transport for London


Be weather ready

Snow Clearance

Information on our road gritting procedures and routes can be found on our gritting page. We also provide and stock grit bins for use on the public highway.

You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. It is unlikely you will be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully. Read government advice on clearing snow.

If you need to drive somewhere know how to prepare, drive and stay safe if you are cut off.

Strong winds

When there is a wind warning in place, here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your property and to drive safely.

Be up to date

We try our best to maintain services, but we could be disrupted by severe weather conditions too. Find out information on services opening times, bin collections and how to keep informed through our email newsletters and social media accounts.

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