Standards of highway maintenance
Produced in partnership with Alastair Frew of Lodders Solicitors and Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors
Standards of highway maintenance

The following Local Government practice note Produced in partnership with Alastair Frew of Lodders Solicitors and Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Standards of highway maintenance
  • Repair, not improve, nor make it worse
  • Inspection and reporting regimes
  • Extraordinary traffic
  • Flooding, ice and snow
  • Moss and algae
  • Highway maintenance liability

The quality of highway maintenance required of those responsible for it depends almost entirely on the expected ordinary traffic on the highway in question.

In Brett v Lewisham LBC Chadwick LJ said:

'It is pertinent to keep in mind that there was, at common law, no liability in damages for failure to repair or maintain. See the analysis of the position in the speech of Lord Justice Diplock in Griffiths v Liverpool Corporation. A statutory duty to maintain was imposed on the local highway authority by s 44(1) of the Highways Act 1959, now s 41(1) of the Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980), but, until s 1(1) of the Highways (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1961 came into force in 1964, that statutory duty gave rise to no liability in a civil action by a private individual for damages sustained by him as a consequence of mere non-repair. The abrogation of the rule which excluded liability for damages suffered as a consequence of non-repair was tempered by the inclusion, in s 1(2) in the 1961 Act, of a statutory defence. It was a defence in an action for damage resulting from non-repair for the highway authority to prove that it had taken such care as in all the circumstances was reasonably required to secure that that part of the highway to which the action related was not dangerous.

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