Alastair Frew

I have worked at Lodders since 2002, having previously worked for both Pinsent Masons and Wragge & Co in Birmingham, as well as working in-house for a technology company. I specialise in commercial property and advise commercial developers, house builders and private investors together with the banks and institutions that fund them. Being able to advise clients about highways and rights of way, and also about construction documentation, is an essential part of the job.
Contributed to


Countryside—the right to roam
Practice notes

This Practice Note summarises the public’s statutory right to roam under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, including the basic definition of access land, the 13 general exceptions where the right to roam does not apply, the restrictions on the use of access land, and the duty of the Natural England and Natural Resources Wales to review the maps at roughly ten-yearly intervals. It notes that the access authorities, which are the National Park Authorities, the highway authorities and the Broads Authority, may construct means of access to access land, and make byelaws regulating the use of access land.

Definitive map and modification orders
Practice notes

This Practice Note summarises the statutory basis, nature and function of the definitive map and statement that a highway authority must keep of the public rights of way in its area, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It explains the highway authority’s duty to keep the map and statement under constant review and to update and modify them where necessary, and the events and orders that will require modification of the map and statement. It sets out the procedures for making a modification order, both for when it is initiated by the authority, and for when it is initiated by an application to the authority from another party.

Maintenance liability for highways
Practice notes

This Practice Note distinguishes between highways that are privately maintainable and highways that are maintainable at the public expense. It explains that the constructor retains liability for a new adopted highway until it has been open for around 12 months. Other highways may be privately maintainable by reason of tenure, enclosure, or prescription. It discusses the use of a s 38 agreement which allows for the adoption of a highway, passing the maintenance liability to the highways authority. The Note also sets out the public bodies that have a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain highways maintainable at public expense, including the Secretary of State, county councils, metropolitan or unitary councils, and London boroughs.

Nuisance on highways
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the law of nuisance in relation to highways, noting that the common law on this issue is expressly preserved by section 333 of the Highways Act 1980. It discusses the circumstances in which builders’ works, scaffolding and skips, racing and unsuitable traffic, stationary traffic, and bridges and beams across the highway may be a nuisance, referring to common law and statute. It also provides an overview of potential nuisances from adjoining property, including domestic or farm animals, pigeons, smoke and fumes, and trees.

Required signs and marking the road surface
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains the definition of a traffic sign under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the powers and duties of a local traffic authority regarding putting traffic signs up on a highway, and the prohibition on putting up traffic signs for most other organisations and people. It provides an overview of central government controls aimed at achieving uniformity, referring extensively to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, SI 2016/362.

Standards of highway maintenance
Practice notes

This Practice Note explains that the quality of highway maintenance required depends on the expected ordinary traffic on the highway in question. It also explains that individuals who sustain injury from danger on a highway can sue the highway authority for negligence, and that if the highway authority can prove it took reasonable care it has a statutory defence under the Highways Act 1980. It also notes that at common law, the duty is to keep the highway in reasonable condition, not improve it. The authority must conduct routine inspections of the highway surface and have a system for incoming reports of damage, but the duty to keep the highway in repair does not extend to the damage done by extraordinary traffic.

Practice areas


  • Contributing Author
  • Q&A Panel


  • University of Liverpool (BA Hons)
  • University of Central England (CPE and LPC)

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