A “snow code” issued by the Government reassures people worried they could be liable if someone slipped and injured themselves on paths cleared outside their homes.
County Coun. Tim Ashton, who is responsible for highways and transport in Lancashire, said: “The new snow code is a victory for commonsense.
“It addresses the uncertainty everyone had last year about whether they put themselves at risk of being sued by clearing public areas or the pavement outside their home.
“The advice from the Government is as clear as it can be – there’s no law stopping residents from removing snow.
“As long as you clear it carefully and don’t make the pathway worse than it was before you started, it’s unlikely you could be held legally responsible for anyone being injured.”
This year Burnley council staff will clear pathways and refill grit bins if prolonged winter weather strikes in a move that marks closer liaison between local authorities and county council.
The county council says it treats footpaths during continuous severe weather.
Paths leading to transport interchanges, main employment centres, shopping centres and hospitals are gritted, with snow clearance considered for others depending on available resources.
Coun. Ashton added: “The main limitation for councils last year was that the bad weather lasted so long supplies of salt began to run low, then salt was rationed by the Government and had to be prioritised for keeping the main roads open.
“This year the county council has 35% more salt in stock, we have filled grit bins with a special mix of salt and sand and the same material will be used on the pavements, which we will treat sooner thanks to closer working with district councils.
“We’re certainly better prepared than ever to keep Lancashire moving this winter.”
Anyone using the salt and sand mix from grit bins is asked to use it make the roads and pavements safer for everyone, and not to use it on private land.
The Snow Code says:
l There’s no law stopping anyone from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside their home, or from public spaces.
l It’s unlikely anyone will be sued or held legally responsible for any injuries on the path if has been cleared carefully. People walking on ice and snow have a responsibility to be careful themselves.
l Be careful – do not make pathways more dangerous by causing them to refreeze.
l Start early – it is easier to move fresh, loose snow than hard snow that has been packed down through being walked on.
l Use sand or salt to melt snow and improve traction. Never use water to melt snow, which may refreeze and cause black ice, making the pathway more dangerous than it was before.
l Use some table salt to prevent pathways refreezing when temperatures drop.
l When shovelling snow, take care not to block other people’s paths or highways drains. Clear a path down the middle of the area so that it is possible to walk easily and move snow from the centre of the path to the sides.