'OK to clear snow' - Taunton lawyer

CLAIMS that ‘elf and safety’ rules mean you could be sued if someone slips on the pavement after you have cleared it of snow have been dismissed by Taunton-based lawyers.

Jason Squire, partner at Ashfords LLP, said many householders across Somerset did not clear their pathways or streets during January’s heavy snow for fear of legal action if someone fell and injured themselves.

Somerset County Council has issued advice in response to the snow and ice caused by the recent plunging temperatures.

The council's Winter Maintenance Leaflet 2010/2011 reassures local people that they should not be discouraged from acting as good citizens in clearing snow from pavements.

There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your home, or from public spaces.

County Hall has confirmed that people can clear pathways without fear of being sued by anyone who comes a cropper.

Their guidance says: "If you use your common sense and take reasonable care to see that you do not create a new and worse risk – e.g. by pouring boiling water which then freezes - you should have nothing to be afraid of."

Mr Squire said: “People who clear outside their homes are only at risk if they do the job so badly that they create a more dangerous situation than before they started."

Comments (4)

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3:11pm Fri 10 Dec 10

Boris23 says...

Oh come on, did anyone actually believe that they were at risk of legal action for clearing the pavement of ice/snow? In fact it should be something we encourage, to many people rely on the council to this for them when we are perfectly able to do it ourselves. In fact it is worth noting that in places where snow is more common, like Alaska and Canada, it is the responsibility of the local community to clear roads and pavements. In some area they club together to ensure that those able bodied residents help out those who cannot do it themselves!
Oh come on, did anyone actually believe that they were at risk of legal action for clearing the pavement of ice/snow? In fact it should be something we encourage, to many people rely on the council to this for them when we are perfectly able to do it ourselves. In fact it is worth noting that in places where snow is more common, like Alaska and Canada, it is the responsibility of the local community to clear roads and pavements. In some area they club together to ensure that those able bodied residents help out those who cannot do it themselves! Boris23

4:25pm Fri 10 Dec 10

*Flick* says...

You are quite right, in some states of America it is actually illegal to leave snow on the footpath outside your house.
We should have a similar policy (although maybe not make it illegal as such) as it is very neighbourly!
It would also save the councils a bit of money on clearing it, after all these are hard times :)
You are quite right, in some states of America it is actually illegal to leave snow on the footpath outside your house. We should have a similar policy (although maybe not make it illegal as such) as it is very neighbourly! It would also save the councils a bit of money on clearing it, after all these are hard times :) *Flick*

9:26am Sat 11 Dec 10

IQ says...

Not just in north America, in parts of Europe you would be looked at as VERY unneighbourly if you did not clear the pavements outside your property and I believe that in Switzerland is it a legal requirement.

Having spent time in parts of the world that see a lot more snow than we do, earlier this year we cleared the (sloping) drive and the pavement outside our house and some neighbours looked at us as if we were a bit peculiar. Less so when we were seen to be easily getting our cars out for the next couple of weeks. The light snowfall recently saw several more neighbours clearing their drives and pavements! This is the 'nudge' effect in action I think - so clear your pavements next time, say nothing and see what happens....
Not just in north America, in parts of Europe you would be looked at as VERY unneighbourly if you did not clear the pavements outside your property and I believe that in Switzerland is it a legal requirement. Having spent time in parts of the world that see a lot more snow than we do, earlier this year we cleared the (sloping) drive and the pavement outside our house and some neighbours looked at us as if we were a bit peculiar. Less so when we were seen to be easily getting our cars out for the next couple of weeks. The light snowfall recently saw several more neighbours clearing their drives and pavements! This is the 'nudge' effect in action I think - so clear your pavements next time, say nothing and see what happens.... IQ

10:39am Sun 12 Dec 10

rockwell says...

Well, in January I cleared mine. It looked a bit lonely. Mine was the only one in a street of 50 +houses.
But then you can sue me all you like, I am skint!
Well, in January I cleared mine. It looked a bit lonely. Mine was the only one in a street of 50 +houses. But then you can sue me all you like, I am skint! rockwell

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