Home owners face fines for over-eager snow shovelling

Residents of Vienna and Salzburg are facing fines if being caught clearing snow from the pavement onto the roads, it has been reported.Authorities in the cities confirmed today (Tues) that tenants and privately assigned snow workers will be reported to the police or fined by city council officials on the spot if they throw snow from the pavement on the roads.Officials explained home owners have to make sure two thirds of the pavement in front of their homes is cleared from fallen snow and not too slippery to walk on if it melts and freezes again.While Salzburg City Hall refused to reveal the value of the fines people were facing, a spokesman for Vienna’s MA 48 office – responsible for street clearing – told the Kronen Zeitung newspaper that punishments of up to 700 Euros were possible. The same official also stressed that authorities in the federal capital have not issued any fines for this matter yet this winter.There has been controversy over Austria’s tough snow clearance regulations for many years. Under the disputed law, negligent home owners can face suspended jail terms and high fines if held responsible for the injuries of people slipping on icy pavements outside their houses.Over the past weeks many parts of Austria have been experiencing more snowfall than in most previous years. Traffic on some of the country’s most important roads came to a standstill after trucks got stuck as they were not equipped with winter tyres and snow chains.Around 500 passengers are currently stranded at Vienna International Airport (VIA), the country’s largest airport which is located near Schwechat in the province of Lower Austria.Michael Braun, a spokesman for VIA, explained today that the situation was at its worst on Sunday night when around 1,000 passengers were transferred to hotels in the area after their flights were cancelled. Braun stressed that the situation was currently much better than at some of Europe’s most important airports. Around 95 per cent of flights departed and landed at VIA on schedule or with minor delays today, he explained.