Highway Maintenance

Highway Obstructions, Encroachments, Adoptions etc.

1. Introduction

The Highway Authority has a responsibility to keep public highways open and remove obstructions and encroachments which may affect the use and safety of the highway.

This policy covers the regulatory matters relevant to this responsibility, which include issues such as obstructions, encroachments, highway obstructions and licences related to permitted activities on the highway.

2. Relevant legislation

Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980 places a duty on the Highway Authority to protect the rights of the public to use and enjoy the highway.

3. Policy

Hampshire County Council as the Highway Authority shall take any necessary measures to ensure that the public maintained highway is safe to use and be enjoyed by the public.

4. Encroachments on the Highway

4.1 Any encroachment on the public highway is preventing the legitimate use of the highway and whenever an encroachment has taken place on the public highway measures shall be taken by the Authority to remove the encroachment or if deemed appropriate and the land is considered surplus to highway requirements the extinguishments of Highway Rights may be pursued under Section 116 of the Highways Act 1980.

4.2 Whenever an encroachment is suspected on the public highway, the Authority shall carry out a status check to determine the exact limits of the highway thereby establishing whether an encroachment has occurred.

5. Removal of obstructions

5.1 Obstructions on or over the highway prevent the legitimate use of the highway and are a potential safety hazard for road users and measures shall be taken by the Authority for the removal of the obstruction.

Obstructions on the highway take various forms and the most commonly encountered occurrences are as follows.

5.2 Items placed on the highway causing an obstruction. (Unauthorised signs, erections, materials or trading booths)

The Highway Authority shall serve notice under the appropriate section of the Highways Act to deal with the removal of the obstruction.

Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980 – unauthorised signs and structures.

Section 138 of the Highways Act 1980 – illegal erection of a building or fence.

Section 148 of the Highways Act 1980 – removal of dangerous deposits.

Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980 – removal of dangerous trees.

Section 143 of the Highways Act 1980 – removal of structures.

In addition;

Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 deals with the removal of waste materials such as mud on the highway which is a hazard to the highway user.

6. Overhanging trees and hedges

The Highway Authority shall serve a notice under Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980 on the owners of overhanging hedges and trees requiring that they are cut back to provide the necessary clearance and abate any nuisance.

7. Height Clearance

The County Council’s responsibility, as the Highway Authority, is to maintain roads to a condition fit for the traffic that might ordinarily be expected to use it. Unless there is a traffic order in force restricting the size or height of vehicles that can use a particular road, a vertical clearance of 17 feet (5.20m) shall be maintained to allow sufficient clearance for vehicles which might ordinarily be expected to use the highway to gain access.

8. Fire Hazard

The Highway Authority shall take measures to deal with the nuisance and hazards caused by fires under Section 161A of the Highways Act 1980.

9.  Adoption of Highways

9.1 Highway Rights are conveyed on any area that is adopted by Hampshire County Council under Section 37 and 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

9.2 The County Council shall establish prior to adoption that the area under consideration will serve a useful highway function by having the status of ‘Highway’.

9.3 Any road, footway, footpath, cycletrack or verge that has been constructed in accordance with the Highway Authority’s specification and is to be used routinely on a regular basis by pedestrians, cycles or vehicles shall be designated as highway and adopted as such.

9.4 The area of adoption shall include margins as required to achieve the necessary visibility standards or maintenance of the infrastructure. The adopted areas shall include any specific design features such as regulatory signs, street lighting and speed restraint points.

9.5 The adopted area may include margins to accommodate Statutory Undertakers’ apparatus.

9.6 It is recognised that trees and shrubs have an important environmental role and may relate to particular highway features.

In themselves, the areas of land incorporating such landscaping features seldom warrant the status of ‘Highway’ and conveyed Highway Rights. There is a presumption against the adoption of verges where the sole purpose is landscaping, screening and amenity usage. Such areas shall primarily be the responsibility of the Local Authority or in certain situations it may be appropriate for the developer or landowner to take on the responsibility. Any such arrangements shall be subject to consultation and agreement of the Highway Authority prior to the granting of detailed planning permission and approval of the layout.

9.7 Remote footways forming a separate access to the individual or small group of properties shall not normally be adopted and shall be subject to discussion and agreement with the Local Authority or Housing Association.

9.8 Separate areas allocated for vehicle parking/or access to remote garages and parking areas and drives to individual or small groups of properties shall not normally be adopted and shall be subject to discussion and agreement with the Local Planning Authority or Housing Association.

9.9 There is scope for external bodies to manage and maintain planted and landscaped areas of designated highway subject to agreement and licence arrangements with the Highway Authority and Local Authority.

10. Highway Status

10.1 Section 36(6) of the Highways Act 1980 places a duty on the Highway Authority to keep and maintain a register of roads which are maintained at the public expense.

10.2 Hampshire County Council as the Highway Authority shall keep and maintain a register of roads which are maintained at public expense. The register shall be made available for inspection by members of the public at all times.

10.3 The Highway Authority shall hold records of prospectively maintainable highways, unadopted estate roads and rights of way (ie public footpaths and bridleways).

10.4 Historical records are also held to assist in determining the status of areas of roadway/verges etc. These include 1929 Local Government Act handover maps, ancient Ordnance Survey maps and old maintenance maps.

Version No:   1.0

Effective:   From - 21/04/2004

If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.