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After breaking a leg several years ago I religiously clear the snow off the paths in the front and back garden. It's not a chore, doesn't take long and I find it rewarding to be able to go out each day, walk up the garden without risk of breaking a bone to refill feeders and put out the rubbish.

I'd be happy to clear snow from the pavement in front of the house, if just to make it easier getting to the car each morning but was told if you clear snow from the pavement and someone slips you are responsible for any injuries they get, is this true.

Last year even the shops nearby didn't clear snow just put a sprinkling of grit down and it was perilously slippy after the snow froze.


Hi Zoomer on the net Health and Safety say don't clear the snow as you open yourself up to liability, its just crazy you trying to help and maybe get sued if someone slips on it, we cant win sometimes matey i wont clear it except on my own property

Good luck


Frozen snow is easier to walk on than ice-as I see it you might be creating an unseen hazard-then yes you could be found liable and public liability insurance might not cover that

Far better to leave clearing of public pathways to the local authority-the only snag is you might have a long wait.


I'm like you Zoomer I clear the front path,  I don't drive but I do like to keep the path clear,  I was lead to believe that you can clear the drive/path as long as you leave it safe that's putting plenty of salt/grit to make it safe,  I fractured my ankle in 2 places last year slipping on black ice so needless to say I'm scared of going out with the dog when it's icy,  the snow doesn't bother me as I have 2 pair of those Snowtrax which stop you slipping,  they do work they are the best things ever invented.

Alan/Geoff. You've confirmed what was thought and now I won't be clearing the pavement of snow. Snow does turn to ice, especially when well trodden, you can't walk up my road after the snow turns to ice and the council don't grit it although there is a council gritting box at the top of the road.   

Another Q.I live on a hill, 1min walk, tops, from the A6, After heavy snow fall last year the police closed several roads off with tape leading off the A6, mine being one, the tape appeared during the night so the following day wasn't able to drive off the road. Is it true your car insurance isn't valid if you drive on a road closed off and have an slide into a car or hedge...          


Rain. I've invested in a good pr of boots this winter and have a pr of hiking sticks for when the snow comes. 

Rain. Checked out Snowtrax and like the idea. Where did you get then from and how much were they...


Zoomer on the insurance question-it might be dodgy-if you drive down a road against police advice-a bit like driving into a deep water ford-it might be considered you took an unnecessary risk-I would check the fine print-there maybe a get out clause.

If you want ice-grippers-check out e-bay there are loads available-got some a couple of years ago-not very expensive -under £5


That link by Maggie confirms what I understood - as long as we clear snow sensibly and don't do anything totally stupid that would make things more dangerous (like the shopkeeper I saw clearing the pavement with kettles of hot water ) then we''re not going to be successfully sued by anyone.  Those days are gone and judges etc are using their heads.  We live near the foot of a hill, and everyone here goes out with shovels and brushes and clears the pavement and each other's pathways and scatters the grit that is provided by the council.  It makes life so much safer (and we feel like a community too).  

It's time we used our common sense rather than kow-tow to the worry-guts and doom-mongerers in the newspapers who enjoy frightening the public by misinterpreting H&S.

I've found this on the Directgov website .  It can't really be much clearer can it?

And yes, ice grippers, yak trax, whatever they're called they're brilliant - just remember to take them off before you go into a supermarket or shop with a smooth  floor!


I totally agree Dove


In Belgium it is required that householders clear the pavement along their housefront and this includes overhanging branches as well as snow.  The police can fine them if they don't.   Citizens are also required to have a family insurance which covers them for accidents on their porperty.

It would be good if we could, in turn, fine local councils who fail to grit roads when bad weather is forecast.   Our road had a thick layer of ice covered by snow after heavy rain froze and became snow in the night.  Lots of slips and slides and bent cars and shaken people.   


I agree Obelixx - I work for our LA, and the other morning our car park was like a skating rink because rain had fallen onto frozen tarmac, but apparently it didn't need gritting because it was raining!!! 



Amazon told Commons public accounts committee last month that its sales were £2.9bn but paid tax of only £1.8m.  Would respectfully suggest giving business to your local area stores as much as possible and John Lewis, Debenhams etc. as firms more committed to this county's future so that money/tax stays in UK to fund schools health care (for gardeners) etc  


.......  and should have mentioned taxes for funding public broadcasting joys: the BBC.

Anyway, shovel away the snow for the goodwill of it.  

As far as I am aware, the law has never been tested as to liability if you clear a public highway and somebody is injured by slipping on ice formed on a cleared surface. Any injured party would probably have to show you acted either maliciously or carelessly and that might be difficult to prove especially if you can show you were genuinely acting in good faith. Not withstanding that, over zealous and mean spirited local authorities may wish to throw their 'Elf and Safety weight around and claim your actions are causing a public nuisance, and forbid you from clearing public highway. However, if they did, then you have a right to remind them of their duty to public highways clear of all hazards!

It's different on your own land - visitors are protected by Occupiers Liability Act, so landowners must make reasonable effort to ensure the safety of visitors, meaning if you know somebody is going to walk on your land you must take reasonable action to clear it and then grit it, if necessary.

Thanks. The advise on the websites is very clear and I've changed my mind, I will go out and clear a path along the pavement, who knows it may encourage neighbours to do their fronts.

Aldi are selling bags of gritting salt for £2.99, a couple would probably see me through the winter.   

obellix. There's a scheme in our area called Street could be a national thing... . The council choose a street/day to give it a good clean, pruning tree's, etc and if you want your front garden tidying up they do that too, neighbours are encouraged to join in but most people on our road work, so not many neighbours were there on the big clean up day. We had to move cars by 8am. Our road is reasonably clean and tidy although we get lots of weeds growing through the cobbles by the side of the road but what a difference the council made. Not sure if they run the scheme over winter and following snow, we had a clean up at the end of November but if they do Street Pride over winter it'll get a big thumbs up from me.

The road running along side ours gets gritted, ours gets closed, me thinks usually after an accident because it's on a hill and off the beaten track. The car was snowed in for about 3 days last year but as it was needed for work, a neighbour helped reverse it out of the road and after that I parked on the 'A' road until the weather improved. It does make sense regarding car insurance not being valid if you choose to drive on a road closed.

Not had chance to check out the snowraks yet.  

 Just want to add when the original Q was asked, I was fully expecting to be in the UK  for the worst of the weather over the New Year and had visions similar to last year,slipping and sliding on ice but I'm now going to Tenerife.

 It's along story but to cut to the chase, was asked a couple of days ago if I'd like to take the place of some who can't go, it wasn't a difficult decision to make and we've changed the flight names today so I'm going to climates warmer.

Your advise has still been good, I've friends coming down from Scotland after the New Year, staying whilst I'm away, and advised my road maybe closed off, they change their car tyres to a winter grip and are confident the weather conditions here in the NW won't be worse than Aberdeen.