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Pavements - obstructions
Our responsibility, as the highway authority, is to maintain roads and pavements to a condition fit for the traffic and pedestrians using them. This includes removing obstructions and encroachments which may affect the use and safety of roads and pavements.
What is a highway obstruction?
Any land or activity which encroaches onto the public highway and prevents its use.
What are the different types of obstructions that affect pavements?
Building materials blocking the pavement are an obstruction to pedestrians and we are responsible for removing them. Mixing concrete or mortar is also an obstruction on the highway.
Skip companies can apply for a licence for a domestic builders’ skip to be placed on the road outside premises. It must not interfere with drainage, access to any manhole or apparatus of any kind. You can find more information on the Skips page.
Please tell us if you are planning any works in the highway.
You will need a licence if you wish to place scaffolding on the road, pavement or verge outside your house, or if the scaffolding is likely to overhang the highway. Check that your contractor has this licence before the scaffolding is in place. You can find more information on the Scaffolding/hoardings page.
Overhanging tree branches and other vegetation
We can serve a notice on the owners of trees and vegetation which overhang the highway requiring them to be cut back to provide the necessary clearance. Unless there is a traffic order in force limiting the size or height of vehicles that can use a particular road, there must be a vertical clearance of 17 feet (5.20m) for vehicles which use the highway to gain access. Pavements should have a vertical clearance of 2.1 metres. You can find more information on the Trees page.
Illegal signs and advertising boards
Signs are deemed to be illegal if they are “attached to any type of sign on the adopted highway erected without lawful authority or excuse”.
Any interference with public passage is technically an illegal obstruction. We will take action to remove unauthorised signs, displayed goods and other items when a footway or pedestrian area is obstructed if:
- pedestrians are inconvenienced
- they extend more than 450mm from the shop frontage
- they interfere with the visibility of motorists
- pedestrians are forced into the road, either directly or because of the number of pedestrians
- there is a significant hazard to pedestrians.
Pavements are constructed and provided specifically for pedestrian use. Vehicles parked on pavements can create a hazard:
- to pedestrians by causing an obstruction which may result in them having to step off the pavement into the carriageway, thus putting themselves in danger
- by restricting the width of the pavement and making it difficult for someone with a pushchair or wheelchair to pass safely - again this person may have to enter the carriageway to avoid the obstruction
- due to the damage caused by driving on and off the pavement - broken flags, potholes and so on.
How to report a highways issue
The quickest and easiest way to report a highways issue is online.