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When does gravel form the “fabric” of the highway?

The Court of Appeal confirmed in Valentine v Transport for London & L.B. Hounslow [2010] EWCA Civ 1358 that the removal of loose surface-lying material is not required by section 41 Highways Act 1980.

The Court of Appeal confirmed in Valentine v Transport for London & L.B. Hounslow [2010] EWCA Civ 1358 that the removal of loose surface-lying material is not required by section 41 Highways Act 1980. 

The Claimant had brought a claim against Transport for London (TfL) as the relevant highway authority, and against L.B.Hounslow (LBH) as the body responsible for cleaning the highway, arising out of the death of her husband when his motorbike skidded on loose gravel as he exited a slip way onto the A4. The Defendants had successfully applied to strike out the claim. The CA upheld the striking out in relation to the TfL claim following the line of authority in Goodes and noting that there was no evidence that the loose surface-lying material came from the tarmac or was embedded in the tarmac. The Claimant did succeed in reinstating the LBH claim, with the CA holding that “Firstly, it ought to be open to the claimant to argue that, on the facts of this case, the cleaning of the road generally, with the very particular exception of the sliver of tarmac, created a trap. That would be a complaint of a positive negligent act which left the road more dangerous than it would have been if nothing at all had been done. Secondly, the case pleaded leaves it open to the claimant to advance a genuine case of a sin of commission.”

/ 1st Jan 2011


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