Q&As

Can a local highway authority manage parking and traffic (ie paint yellow lines and enforce parking restrictions) on a non-publicly maintainable highway?

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Produced in partnership with Alastair Frew of Lodders Solicitors
Published on LexisPSL on 16/03/2020

The following Local Government Q&A produced in partnership with Alastair Frew of Lodders Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a local highway authority manage parking and traffic (ie paint yellow lines and enforce parking restrictions) on a non-publicly maintainable highway?

Can a local highway authority manage parking and traffic (ie paint yellow lines and enforce parking restrictions) on a non-publicly maintainable highway?

A non-publicly maintainable highway is rare. A ‘highway’ is a road or path which is open to the public. In almost every case, such a highway will be maintainable by the highway authority, at the cost of the taxpayer.

However, there are instances of a road becoming a highway without it also becoming adopted, and it therefore remains maintainable by a private person or company. For further information, see Practice Notes: Highways—adoption agreements and Definition and classification of highways.

Sometimes, as in the case of roads within housing estates built before 1959, due to an anomaly in the legislation, they are maintainable by no one. Therefore, members of the public may find themselves passing along highways which are in a poor state of repair, but that the local council is not responsible. If the local council is not required to maintain the road, can that same council also avoid responsibility for managing the use of the road?

The key pieces of legislation are the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984) and the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). This legislation gives power to the ‘traffic authority’ (which, to all intents and purposes is the same as the ‘highway authority’, see RTRA 1984, s 121A) over

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