Back to Blog

Snow Causes Chaos But What Should Councils Do

For many of us, this week has meant that we have had to battle to get out of our front door. For us in the South East, we have fared slightly better although the usual issues arise as they do every year with points freezing and transport links stretched.

For the first time as I was cycling into work this morning, I saw council employees using wide snow shovels which would be common place in almost every Northern European Country.

Perhaps we are getting more used to the snow or perhaps, local authorities and government departments are sitting up and taking notice of the position this country was in last year when many local authorities did not bother gritting, apparently on the back of advice they had received that to do so would leave them open to claims.

I do not propose to write a blog on the main legal issues of gritting in snow and ice. To do so would take too long and would leave me in the position which most lawyers are in on a regular basis which is in stating that each case must be dealt with on it’s own merits.

This is of course true but the simple issue is that local authorities do have a duty to grit. Any argument that doing so would leave them open to claims, presumably on the basis that they would then be able to refute arguments that they should have gritted a minor B road if they can say they have not gritted any roads at all, is incorrect.

With cold weather warning now for some time, these arguments wear very thin and would appear equally thin before a Court.

Spare a thought for the rest of Europe. I will be flying to Berlin tomorrow and then driving down to Dresden to see a client. I understand the temperature is -11. I have packed my thermals.....Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046,  or email and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.