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Snow and Ice

The Council has a duty to take such care, under all circumstances as is reasonable, to see that visitors to its premises will be reasonably safe. The duty arises out of the Occupiers Liability Acts 1957 and 1984. The Council’s premises not only include buildings managed by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) but also car parks and open spaces.

NHDC has limited resources available for the treatment of snow and ice from its premises but will take reasonable steps to ensure its premises remain safe to visitors. If necessary this may include the closure of facilities without notice on public safety grounds.

All visitors equally have a responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

Exceptions

NHDC is not a highway authority. Responsibility for ensuring roads and public footpaths remain safe lies with Hertfordshire Highways. Hertfordshire Highways is also responsible for all salt bins on the public highway.

The Council’s duty to maintain its services in adverse weather conditions is covered within the scope of its business continuity and emergency response plans. The Council’s duty in respect of the health and safety of its employees is covered within its Health and Safety Policy.

How we meet our duties

The Council has undertaken a review of the premises that it is responsible for and has assessed the risk to the public taking into account the volumes of pedestrians/road vehicles. The Council expects the public to equally be responsible for their own health and safety and to take extra care when adverse weather is forecast by the Met Office.

Using this assessment the Council will endeavour to ensure that the following premises are kept as safe as reasonably practical in the event of snow and ice. This takes into account the available level of resources to the Council.

Multi-storey car parks, entrances to NHDC-managed Community Halls and the entrance to District Council Offices

The Council’s Property Services cleaning contractors will apply grit or other suitable agent as directed by NHDC.

Surface Pay and Display car parks

The NHDC street cleaning contract does not operate with capacity for additional work within the current contract specifications. When current contractual duties are suspended, primarily due to severe weather conditions, such as heavy snow fall, the street cleaning operatives will undertake to apply grit to the car parks.

Salt bins are provided in the car parks and the contractor will ensure they are stocked.

Hitchin Market Square, Churchgate and Hitchin & Royston Markets

These areas will be gritted by the street cleaning operatives as for the surface car parks. The Hitchin & Royston Markets will only be gritted on market days by the relevant market team.

NHDC facilities managed by others

This includes the Council’s leisure facilities, community centres etc. The responsibility for assessing the risk and clearing snow and ice is that of the relevant facility’s management.

Cemeteries

The routes in the cemeteries will be cleared for burials only by the grounds maintenance contractor.

Amenity areas/other areas of land owned by NHDC

Taking into account the usage of the remaining NHDC areas and the resources available to NHDC, these areas will not be cleared in the event of cold adverse weather conditions.

Underlying these procedures are a number of detailed specifications agreed with the various contractors operating for NHDC.