Who can work on the highway?

Anyone planning to carry out work on or under a road, pavement or footpath (public highway) must notify us first, under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

Work can only be carried out by:

  • council contractors
  • utility companies (known as statutory undertakers)
  • companies licensed by the Council

We keep a record of all works we’ve been notified about – known as the Street Works register.

Utility companies

Street works are works carried out by utility service companies such as water, gas, electricity and cable TV, including the installation, repair and inspection of equipment. 

We have a duty to under the Traffic Management Act 2004 to:

  • ensure safety
  • minimise inconvenience – especially to those with disabilities
  • protect the street

We can’t prevent a utility company from carrying out works but we can delay them if necessary, for example, because of traffic problems. Major road works (known as substantial road works) may also restrict street works.

We monitor all utility companies and their associated contractors. We inspect their work at various stages to ensure that health and safety is maintained.  On completion, we carry out a further inspection to check work has been done to a satisfactory standard.

Substantial roadworks

When we carry out major roadworks (known as substantial roadworks) we tell utility (gas, electricity and telecoms) companies three months in advance through an official legal notice called a Section 58.

This gives them time to carry out any work that needs doing. The notice restricts their activities during the roadworks and for three to five years after we’ve finished. This prevents them from digging up a road or footway after improvements unless they have our permission and it’s in certain circumstances.

How to complain about roadworks

We normally allow work on the highways to take place between 7am to 7pm but in some instances on busy roads, working hours outside this time are agreed with us, along with emergency works.

If you do have a complaint about works, look for the information board on the work site. This will tell you who is doing the work and their contact number. If for some reason there is no information board, contact us, and we will pursue the complaint on your behalf.

For major works, households in the immediate vicinity of the work should be notified in advance by letter, with the company’s contact details.

If you want to complain about noise arising from the works, you can do this using our online form.

Within six months of the works being completed, the company must return the road, pavement or path to its original condition.

Last Modified: 07/10/2020 12:39:48