Do you have a bridge or public footpath crossing your land? If so you should ensure they are in a fit state for walkers now that the summer is approaching. That’s the message from rural estate agent Smith Gore, which has an office in Corbridge, Northumberland.
Partner Richard Henderson said: “As the countryside makes ready for summer visitors, farmers and landowners should be mindful of their duty of care owed to members of the public.
“Regular inspections of path bridges on their land should be carried out to identify any defects and minimise risk to the public.”
Landowners have an obligation to ensure that bridges and other structures in place to allow public access – such as culverts and styles – are sound and that risks to users are minimised. If not, the landowner would be liable for any harm caused by their action, or lack of it.
Mr Henderson added: “As part of the management of risks to users, footbridges, culverts and other infrastructure should be inspected regularly to ensure they are safe. These inspections should be carried out by competent persons with the correct skills and knowledge, records should be kept to confirm the condition of structures, and any preventative and reactive maintenance undertaken should be recorded.”
Smiths Gore has recently undertaken an inspection programme of 91 bridges on behalf of Scottish Government agency Scottish Natural Heritage identifying necessary repairs and remedial work to bring the structures up to standard where required.