‘Section 41 gives the council a defence in cases like yours’
ASection 41 of the Highways Act offers the council a defence. In summary, this states that the council is responsible for maintaining the fabric of the road. It does not, however, extend a liability to the council for failing to sweep or clear the road surface. Provided that the council has complied with its duty to inspect the highway then they have a defence. The issue is further complicated by a court decision in the case of Valentine v Transport for London & Another which determined that the obligation to maintain the highway does not extend to the clearing of road detritus. The obligation to maintain the highway is limited to the inspection and repair of the surface and the council will not therefore be liable if it is alleged that the gravel is the build-up of road detritus as opposed to a failure in the fabric of the road.