Keep pavements free of snow and ice, councils warned

Charity says there must be no repeat of conditions last winter.

Councils are being warned it is their legal duty to ensure pavements are kept free of snow and ice this winter.

Living Streets, a national charity, is calling for pavements to be cleared and gritted as a priority - to help prevent some of the 16,000 snow and ice-related hospital admissions recorded in England alone last winter.

“Snow and ice cause problems across the UK each winter, but whilst our roads are routinely gritted, our pavements are not.

“During the winter of 2009/10, 16,064 snow and ice related hospital admissions were recorded in England, 18 times higher than the winter before and costing an enormous 42 million pounds.”

Living Streets says councils have a legal duty to ensure that safe movement on the highway - including on pavements - is not endangered by snow or ice.

It is calling for councils to work with local communities to make sure that everyone can get around safely and without slipping or falling on icy pavements.

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Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “Living Streets doesn’t want a repeat of previous years, where people have felt vulnerable and in some cases completely isolated by ice on our pavements.

“With nearly four in five short journeys made on foot, it’s time that the needs of people on foot are taken seriously.

“We want to see councils work together with their local communities to make sure no one feels isolated or vulnerable because of the weather. We urge councils to sign up to our three point winter plan for ice-free pavements which includes giving key walking routes at least the same priority as key roads, supplying grit and encouraging the public to help clear pavements and redeploying council staff that are unable to do their usual jobs in the icy weather.”

Snow warden schemes are being set up in some towns and villages across East Devon, but not all.