Roads - 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?


You can find information on roadworks in Derby, including work by utility companies (water, gas, electricity) Elgin Road Works Finder website.

Builders’ Materials

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 get more information on the builders' 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 get more information on our Scaffolding/hoardings webpage.

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 get more information on our Trees webpage.

Mud/debris on the highway

It is an offence under the Highway Act to deposit mud/debris on the road. Where the offender can be identified they can be prosecuted by either the police or us as the Highway Authority.

Mud and other debris can be dragged onto the road as a result of construction sites, caravan rallies or shows, especially if it's been raining. If you are responsible for causing mud and debris to be spread on a road, you should provide warning signs and clean any debris up. Warning signs should be triangular 'Slippery Road' signs. Homemade, hand painted signs are not legal and could also constitute an unauthorised obstruction.

Under Highways Act 1980, we have a duty to clean the road and power to recover the costs from the persons responsible.

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.

Pavement parking

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.


It is an offence against the Highways Act 1980 to issue or allow water to flow onto or over the highway.

Banners and bunting

Do I need permission to place bunting within the public highway?

Placing bunting over, along or in the highway is illegal without first obtaining our consent.

You must contact Streetpride for permission to place bunting six weeks before the date of the proposed installation. This gives us plenty of time to process the request and deal with any difficulties that may arise.

What information is needed?

The following essential information is needed:

  • Proposed location of bunting
  • Copy of written consent from the owner of the fixing points to use them
  • Dates of installation and removal, together with method statement
  • Copy of the up-to-date structural adequacy certificate (obtained from the owners of the fixing points)
  • Certified copy of the up-to-date Certificate of Public Liability Insurance for £5 million which the company erecting the bunting must have
  • Description of bunting
  • 24 hour contact details of the person making the application (landline and mobile numbers, postal and email addresses)

How do I know which roads or sections of roads are part of the public highway?

We, as the Highway Authority, keep an update a register of the roads that are maintained at public expense. We are currently working on the production of a map of Derby which shows all land owned by us. In the meantime, please contact us for further information.

Useful forms


Contact details

Post address:
15 Stores Road
DE21 4BD
Phone: 0333 2006981
Minicom: 01332 258427
15 Stores Road
DE21 4BD