Highways and street trading
Published by a LexisPSL Planning expert

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Highways and street trading
  • Offences involving highway obstructions
  • The duty and powers of the highway authority
  • Provision of amenities on certain highways
  • Temporary pavement licences in England in the wake of Coronavirus (Covid–19)

Highways and street trading

Offences involving highway obstructions

Various provisions of the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980) identify specific types of obstruction or nuisance, such as skips placed on the highway and oversailing by cranes or other projections, and creates offences in relation to each which may be avoided if a licence from the highway authority is sought and issued. See Practice Note: Highways obstructions—building works, scaffolding and skips.

Additionally, section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 creates an offence of parking a vehicle or a trailer in such a position or in such condition so as to involve a danger of injury to other persons using the highway.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (CNEA 2005) creates ‘nuisance parking offences’ of exposing vehicles for sale or repairing vehicles (except where necessary as a result of a breakdown) on a road.

The duty and powers of the highway authority

Every highway authority has a statutory duty to assert and protect the rights of the public to the use and enjoyment of any highway in its area. To fulfil this duty, the authority has various statutory powers, including but not limited to those under HiA 1980, to licence or remove and, or, prosecute in relation to, unlawful or potentially unlawful obstructions.

Apart from these specific powers a highway authority has no power to permit or licence any form of obstruction or encroachment on the highway. Any

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