This makes interesting reading. I wonder why the county council aren’t being given a hard time about this every hour on the hour? If it’s a legal duty, why doesn’t the government fund this work properly?
Councils have a legal responsibility to keep pavements safe.
Under section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, a council has a duty to ensure that the highway is safe to use, as far as reasonable, and specifically that it is not made dangerous for pedestrians by snow and ice. The highway includes the footway (as defined in section 329 of the same Act). On top of this, under section 150 of the Highways Act 1980, councils have a duty to remove a deposit of snow from the highway if it is an obstacle. The public can complain to a magistrate if this duty is not carried out.
Can councils realistically do anything about this?
They can and they should – they have the legal duty to ensure clear and safe highways, including pavements. Living Streets has collected some great examples where councils have taken this issue seriously. Realistically councils will need to prioritise where they use scarce resources – which is why it is so important to make the case that a huge proportion of the most essential local journeys, particularly for some of the most vulnerable people, are made on foot.