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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February, 2004, 19:48 GMT
Clearing snow 'can get you sued'
Snow
If snow is left, the council is liable
Clearing snow from pavements outside your home could make you liable to legal action if somebody slips on ice, the government has said.

But if householders leave the snow, the council is liable, Lord Davies of Oldham, for ministers, told Tory Lord Burnham at question time.

Claims against householders were "few and far between," he added.

But Tory Baroness Carnegy of Lour called for a law change, to encourage people to "do their bit".

Labour ex-minister Lord Dubs added: "Something I have done for years every time there has been snow is leaving me liable to legal action."

Lord Davies said: "No householder is at all responsible, providing they do not touch the pavement, which is owned by the local authority."

If people completely and utterly and totally clear away all snow and return the pavement to the situation it was in before the snow landed, they have done an excellent job
Lord Davies of Oldham

But he added: "The moment they address the issue of the pavement with a view to improving things, which may lead to a deterioration, it may be their action that makes them culpable."

"If people completely and utterly and totally clear away all snow and return the pavement to the situation it was in before the snow landed, they have done an excellent job.

"If it is done in a less than complete manner and leaves ice, which is more dangerous than the original covering of snow, it may not necessarily be the local authority that is responsible but the householder for having dealt with the pavement."

If the exchanges led to fewer people clearing snow, Lord Davies added, "that would be a great pity and I would have acted to the detriment of the nation".




SEE ALSO:
London covered in snow
28 Jan 04  |  London


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