Frequently asked questions about pavements

I tripped over a loose kerbstone, who can I speak to about this?

Please report loose kerbstones to us.

Report pavements in disrepair online

How often do you inspect and repair the pavements?

We inspect all pavements at least once a year as part of our regular safety inspections. In some locations, we carry out more regular safety inspections. If you report a pavement problem online, we will also send out an Inspector to look at it.

We will repair any safety hazards that we find during these inspections. More information about our inspections policy and the repairs we carry out can be found on our Highways Safety Inspections page.

We also have a planned pavement maintenance programme where we carry out works to whole sections of the pavement.

You have recently repaired the pavement outside my house but the work is very poor. Can the work be re-done?

We check all works as they are being carried out and after the job has been completed. If the work is not carried out to the required standard, we will instruct the contractor to repair it at their own cost.

Can you remove left building materials and equipment after a completed repair job?

We inspect all of our completed jobs to ensure that the site is left clear and tidy. If you believe that this has not happened on a site where Surrey County Council have been working, please let us know.

Signs and equipment left on the road reporting form

If the work has been carried out by someone else, such as a utility company or a housing contractor, please contact them directly.

The pavement is narrow due to overgrown nettles and brambles. Is it possible for you to clear this please?

You can report overgrown vegetation (nettles, brambles, bushes, trees) to us.

Report overgrown vegetation

If the overgrowth is coming from private property, we will ask the owner to cut it back.

The pavement is narrow due to lots of growth at the base of trees. Who do I ask to cut this back?

Trees on the roadside verge are our responsibility.

Report overgrown trees

More information about maintaining our trees.

Trees on private property are the responsibility of the landowner. They must ensure that their trees do not pose a threat to pavement or road. If the overgrowth is coming from private property, we will ask the owner to cut it back.

Tables and chairs outside the local café are blocking the pavement. Can they be moved?

Please let us know about any obstruction that is blocking a pavement.

Report an obstruction on the verge or pavement

We will check that the Café has a licence for the tables and chairs, which requires them to leave at least a 1.2m width of pavement for people to pass.

Can I clear ice and snow without fear of legal action?

Yes, you can, but there are some important tips to bear in mind before you do this.

This guide is designed to help you to act in a neighbourly way by safely clearing snow and ice from pavements and public spaces.

Will I be held liable if someone falls on a path I have cleared?

There is no law preventing you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your property, pathways to your property or public spaces.

It is very unlikely that you would face any legal liability, as long as you are careful, and use common sense to ensure that you do not make the pavement or pathway clearly more dangerous than before. People using areas affected by snow and ice also have responsibility to be careful themselves.

What can I do to help clear snow and ice from pavements and public spaces?

Practical advice from highway engineers is given below. This is not a comprehensive list.

  • Do not use hot water. This will melt the snow, but may replace it with black ice, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Start early: it is much easier to remove fresh, loose snow compared to compacted ice that has been compressed by people walking on it.
  • Be a good neighbour: some people may be unable to clear snow and ice on paths leading to their property or indeed the footway fronting their property. Snowfall and cold weather pose particular difficulties for them gaining access to and from their property or walking to the shops.
  • If shovelling snow, consider where you are going to put it, so that it does not block people's paths, or block drainage channels. This could shift the problem elsewhere.
  • Make a pathway down the middle of the area to be cleared first, so you have a clear surface to walk on. Then you can shovel the snow from the centre to the sides.
  • Spreading some salt on the area you have cleared will help to prevent any ice forming. Table salt or dishwasher salt will work, but avoid spreading on plants or grass as they may be damaged by it. A few grams (a tablespoon) for each square metre you clear should work. The salt found in salting bins will be needed for keeping roads clear.
  • Particular care and attention should be given to steps and steep gradients to ensure snow and ice is removed. You might need to apply additional salt to these areas.
  • Use the sun to your advantage. Removing the top layer of snow will allow the sun to melt any ice beneath; however you will need to cover any ice with salt to stop it refreezing overnight.
  • If there is no salt available, then a little sand or ash is a reasonable substitute. It will not have the same de-icing properties as salt but should offer grip under foot.