Removing obstructions from the highway

Removing obstructions from the highway

The highway authority has the duty to assert and protect the right of the public to the use and enjoyment of the highway. The highway authority can take enforcement action against persons causing unlawful wilful obstruction of the highway. Wilful obstruction of the highway is not only a nuisance, it can cause danger to people using the highway.

Examples of obstruction

Some examples of offences under the Highways Act 1980:

  • Tables and chairs on the highway (except in licensed designated areas)
  • "A" boards, typically used for pavement or roadside advertising
  • Planks placed in the roadway to assist access
  • Walls, gates, fences and hedges placed across the highway
  • Projections onto the highway from buildings (outside accepted tolerances)
  • Goods displayed outside shops (beyond any private forecourt)
  • Unauthorised signs attached to poles and lighting columns
  • Building materials deposited on the highway
  • Skips, scaffold and hoardings (without prior approval)
  • Overhanging vegetation

What can we do?

The highway authority can take action against offenders to remove the obstruction. In most cases this is a friendly chat or an informal letter pointing out the problem and asking for the obstruction to be removed.

Generally individuals comply with our request when a particular incident is brought to their attention, and the subject is closed. However, there are sometimes occasions when we have to take legal action. This usually involves court action and can take some time to resolve.

What can you do?

Please report incidents of highway obstructions to us. We will investigate the report and take appropriate action as necessary. Of course, we'd encourage everyone to try not to cause obstructions on the highway wherever possible.

Report an obstruction on the highway

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