Can you be sued for clearing snow from your path or pavement? The law and advice on how to do it safely

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Are you worried about the repercussions of clearing snow and ice from a pavement or path yourself?

The Government has issued advice to anyone who may be put off picking up a spade and clearing away snow and ice from public paths outside their homes, for fear of legal action if someone were to be injured.

Weather warnings for ice and snow are inevitable during winter months and making journeys on foot along footpaths and pavements can be treacherous.

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However, conscientious people shouldn't be put off clearing ice and snow themselves according to Government advice. The Department for Transport says that "it’s unlikely that you’ll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully."

The Met Office also echoed the advice and clarified that "people walking on snow and ice have a responsibility to be careful themselves."

That being said, if you are planning to clear snow and ice yourself, you'll need to be sure it is cleared correctly. Here are some top tips from the Department of Transport and the Met Office to help you do it safely:

- Clear fresh loose snow earlier in the day as it's easier to move.

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- Take care when moving snow to not block other walkways or drains.

- Shovel snow from the centre of paths to the sides.

- Don't use water, as this can refreeze and turn into black ice.

- Use salt where possible as this will melt ice or snow and stop anything remaining from refreezing overnight.

- Using ash or sand is a good alternative if you don't have enough salt - this won't stop paths icing over, but will provide grip underfoot.

The Met Office is also encouraging neighbours to check that any elderly or disabled neighbours are alright during any cold weather spells.

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