West Christchurch

Clearing Snow from your Path

Should a resident clear snow from their own path? Should they go further and clear it from the pavement outside their house?

CBC has now given us an updated response as follows:


As a result of last year’s significant snowfall, many people have become concerned about being sued if they clear the pavement outside their home and someone then slips and hurts themselves. Guidance has been issued by the Government, including a ‘snow code’, and is available online at www.direct.gov.uk. The County Council (which is the Highway Authority) has endorsed this guidance. In summary:


  • There is no law stopping you from clearing snow from the pavement outside your property, pathways to your property or public spaces.


  • As long as you are careful to ensure that you don’t make the pavement or pathway more dangerous than before (make sure that you follow the snow code!) then it is unlikely that you would be sued.


  • There is no duty for property owners to clear snow from public pavements in front of their houses which means there is no legal liability for a failure to clear snow from these areas.


  • People using an area affected by snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves.


For land within your ownership (and not part of a public highway) remember that you owe visitors a duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984 to take reasonable care to ensure that they are reasonably safe so action on your part will be required. This is especially the case when you know that you are likely to have visitors, e.g. the postman. You should take extra care when clearing your own land that you don’t make the situation worse. Once again, people visiting your property are expected to be careful themselves where there is obviously a hazard.


If you use common sense and follow the appropriate guidance you are unlikely to be held liable for attempting to clear snow from either public places or your own private land.


Who knows, we may just have a warmer winter and this advice won’t be needed!

September 2011