Highways Act 1980

The Highways Act 1980 (1980 c.66) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom dealing with the management and operation of the road network in England and Wales. It consolidated with amendments several earlier pieces of legislation. Many amendments relate only to changes of highway authority, to include new unitary councils and national parks. By virtue of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 and the Environment Act 1995, most references to local authority are taken to also include Welsh councils and national park authorities.

All roads in England and Wales are covered by the Highways Act 1980.

By virtue of the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 most references to 'the Minister' are taken to include the National Assembly for Wales. The Act is split into 14 parts covering 345 sections, it also includes 25 schedules.

Part 1: Highway authorities and agreements between authoritiesEdit

Part 1 includes sections 1 to 9 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Highway Authorities
  • Agreements between authorities

Part 2: Trunk roads, classified roads, metropolitan roads, special roadsEdit

 
The M2 motorway is an example of a Special Road.

Part 2 includes sections 10 to 23 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Trunk roads
  • Classified roads
  • Metropolitan roads
  • Special roads (motorways)

Part 3: Creation of highwaysEdit

 
An upgraded footpath at Halfway, Sheffield.

Part 3 includes sections 24 to 35 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Creation of new highways
  • Creation of new footpaths and bridleways
  • Dedication of highways
 
Network Rail notice quoting the Highways Act 1980

Private landowners sometimes display a notice quoting Section 31, when there is no dedication of a public right of way.[1]

Part 4: Maintenance of highwaysEdit

Part 4 includes sections 36 to 61 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Highways maintainable at public expense, and their maintenance
  • Maintenance of privately maintainable highways
  • Powers covering enforcement of liabilities and recovery of costs
  • Defence in respect of specific matters in legal action against a highway authority for damages for non-repair of highway

Section 38 AgreementEdit

 
A recently adopted road in Birkenhead.

Under Section 38 of the Act, the highway authority may enter into an agreement with a developer of land on either side or both sides of a private street.[2] The authority can agree to adopt the street as a highway maintainable at public expense when all the street works have been carried out to their satisfaction, and the developer agrees to carry them out within a stated time. It is customary for the developer to enter into a bond for their performance with a bank or building society.

Part 5: Improvement of highwaysEdit

Part 5 includes sections 62 to 105 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Various powers to improve highways including – but not limited to:
    • Widening of highways
    • Installation of guardrails
    • Construction, reconstruction and improvement of bridges and the like

Part 6: Navigable waters and watercoursesEdit

 
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was diverted when the M42 motorway (top) was extended to the M5.

Part 6 includes sections 106 to 111 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Construction of bridges over and tunnels under navigable waters
  • Diversions of watercourses

Part 7: Provision of special facilitiesEdit

 
A roadside picnic site in County Durham.

Part 7 includes sections 112 to 115 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Provision of picnic sites.
  • Provision of public conveniences.
  • Provision of areas for parking heavy goods vehicles.

Part 8: Stopping up of highwaysEdit

Part 8 includes sections 116 to 129 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Stopping up and diversion of highways
  • Stopping up means of access to highways

Part 9: Lawful and unlawful interference with highwaysEdit

Part 9 includes sections 130 to 185 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Protection of public rights
  • Damage to highways
  • Obstruction of highways
  • Danger or annoyance to highway users
  • Precautions to be taken in doing certain works
  • Request the highway authority to construct a vehicle crossing over a footway or verge in the highway

Part 10: New streetsEdit

Part 10 includes sections 186 to 202 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • New street byelaws
  • Requirements and prohibitions as to new streets
  • Enforcement of byelaws

Part 11: Making up of private streetsEdit

Part 11 includes sections 203 to 237 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • The private street works code
  • The advance payments code
  • General powers relating to private streets

Part 12: Acquisition, vesting and transfer of landEdit

Part 12 includes sections 238 to 271 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Acquisition of land for highway works
  • Compensation relating to compulsory acquisition of land
  • Vesting of land
  • Transfer of property and liability when the status of a highway changes

Part 13: Financial provisionsEdit

Part 13 includes sections 272 to 281 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Various rules on financial transactions relating to highways

Section 278 AgreementEdit

A Section 278 Agreement allows private developers to either fund or complete works to public highways outside or beyond the development site itself, such as traffic calming and capacity improvements.[3] The document is signed by the local highway authority and the developer to ensure that works are completed to the highway authority's satisfaction.

Part 14: Miscellaneous and supplementary powersEdit

Part 14 includes sections 282 to 345 of the Act. The legislation contained in these sections covers:

  • Various supplementary powers including – but not limited to:
Inquiries
Disputes over compensation
Prosecutions and appeals
Regulations, schemes and orders

SchedulesEdit

The Act contains 25 schedules.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit