New Roads and Street Works Act 1991: Code of Practice for the Co-ordination of Works in Roads

Chapter 11 Related Matters

11.1 Location of Works and Apparatus - Exchange of Information

11.1.1 It is important that adequate information is provided to all concerned about the location and nature of all relevant apparatus. The detailed requirements are set out in Sections 138 & 139 of NRSWA and are supported by advice in NJUG publications.

11.1.2 Until there is the facility for all interested parties to exchange information electronically, existing arrangements should continue to ensure that information about apparatus is made available to works promoters. Road works authorities in responding to a plant enquiry regarding their apparatus must also include details of any apparatus they have granted a third party permission to install under Section 109 of NRSWA. This is important in order to avoid damage to underground apparatus and to comply with current Health and Safety Executive requirements, in particular HSG47 Avoiding Danger from Underground Services.

The current arrangements for requesting and providing apparatus information are described in more detail in RAUC(S) Advice Note 1.

11.2 Prospectively Maintainable Roads

11.2.1 Section 146 of NRSWA provides that where road works authorities are satisfied that a road in their area is likely to become a public road, they may make a declaration to that effect. Such a road must also be included in the local street gazetteer, which amongst other things (see paragraph 3.2) will be expected to identify the following:

(i) public roads;

(ii) prospective public roads; and

(iii) private roads that have public rights of way or passage of which the roads authority has knowledge, together with details of the road manager where that is known.

11.2.2 This Code applies to prospective public roads just as it does to public roads.

11.2.3 In the case of private roads, notices should be served on the road manager in the form of letters or emails as well as being entered in the SRWR if the road exists in the gazetteer.

11.2.4 Private roads and prospective public roads are to be identified in the Associated Street Data sets of the SRWR.

11.3 Road Closures and Traffic Restrictions


11.3.1 Sections 14 - 16 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as amended by the Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Act 1991 and Regulations which have been made under that Act prescribe the procedures governing temporary road closures and traffic restrictions for the execution of works. There are three separate procedures:

(i) temporary emergency notice;

(ii) temporary short duration notice; and

(iii) temporary long duration order.

Temporary Emergency Notice

11.3.2 Where the road works authority is satisfied that there is a likelihood of danger to the public or serious damage to the road (e.g. a leaking gas main), they may issue a "temporary emergency notice" imposing a closure or restriction. No prior notice need be given but the undertaker must inform the road works authority as soon as practicable if a closure or restriction is considered necessary.

The promoter of works must also consult the police and any other relevant parties. Full supporting information must also be supplied. The road works authority will then confirm whether a notice will be made. This notice is limited to 21 consecutive days' duration; however, it may be extended by one further notice (giving a further 21 consecutive days) but may be followed only by processing a long duration order.

The road works authority is required to state in the notice:

  • the reason for the closure or restriction;
  • its effect;
  • alternative routes where applicable; and
  • the start date and maximum duration.

The road works authority is then required to inform the police, fire and ambulance service and any adjacent road works authority that may be affected.

Temporary Short Duration Notice

11.3.3 The works promoter must give a notice in advance as required by road works authorities to make a "notice" for works that may not last longer than 5 working days. This "notice" cannot be extended.

The road works authority is required to state in the "notice":

  • the reason for the closure or restriction;
  • its effect;
  • alternative routes where applicable; and
  • the start date and maximum duration.

The road works authority is then required to inform the police, fire and ambulance services and any adjacent road works authority that may be affected.

Temporary Long Duration Order

11.3.4 The works under such an Order may last for up to 18 months. Due to the time required to process the order, 6 weeks notice is normally required. Full supporting information must also be supplied. Such an order is commonly known as a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO).

The Order must be advertised and published in a local newspaper at least 7 days in advance of the start date. The road works authority is required to state:

  • the reason for the Order;
  • its effect;
  • alternative routes where applicable; and
  • the start date and duration.

The road works authority is then required to inform the police, fire and ambulance service and any other adjacent road work authority that may be affected. Such notices can now also be entered on to by the road works authority.

For works over 18 months, the advertising and publication must be done at least 21 days in advance of the start date and the aforementioned parties must be consulted along with the Scottish Government. For works on footpaths and cycle tracks the duration of the Order is restricted to 6 months.

Overrun of Temporary Emergency Notices and Temporary Long Duration Order

11.3.5 When it becomes apparent that the advertised duration or extent of works will need to be extended, the works promoter must immediately inform the road works authority that an extension is required.

Early Re-opening of Roads

11.3.6 It should be borne in mind that the road works authority must be informed of early re-opening of the road following a temporary notice or Order.

Traffic Signs

11.3.7 Closures or restrictions provided by the above are only in force when the appropriate signs are maintained in place.

Designated Parking places

11.3.8 In extraordinary circumstances the Road Traffic Act 1991 allows for the temporary suspension of designated on street parking places where this may assist the works.


11.3.9 When a notice or order has been made, the works promoter will be responsible for complying with the relevant requirements of the traffic authority and police for the closure of the road.

11.3.10 Undertakers are required by section 125 of NRSWA to carry on and complete their works "with all such despatch as is reasonably practicable" and road works authorities may require unreasonably lengthy obstructions to be mitigated or discontinued. There is therefore a presumption that closures or prohibitions will remain in force only for as long as necessary for the purposes for which they are imposed. Road works authorities are, for their part, under a statutory obligation to maintain a public right of passage and they also are expected to carry out their works with due despatch.


11.3.11 Section 135 of NRSWA allows for roads authorities to recover their reasonable costs in issuing temporary notices or making a TTRO. Upon application for a TTRO, road works authorities should provide the works promoter with the estimated cost of the order. Invoices should be itemised as follows:

(i) Cost of Order;

(ii) Cost of Advertising in Local Paper; and

(iii) Cost of Administration.

Portable Light Signals

11.3.12 General Direction 53 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 states that portable light signals may be placed for the control of vehicular traffic only if permission is given in writing by the roads authority, or orally in an urgent situation if followed by written confirmation. The written permission must give specific approval to the placing of signals at a particular site except:

(i) where the signals are being operated and maintained by and under the regular supervision of a uniformed constable during the progress of a temporary scheme of traffic control; or

(ii) on a length of road along which there is no junction carrying vehicular traffic to and from it; and the width of the carriageway is temporarily restricted so as to carry one line of traffic; or

(iii) at a level crossing when work in relation to that crossing is being carried out; or

(iv) on a road adjacent to the temporary site of road, building or engineering works used for the movement of vehicles, materials, plant or equipment within the site of the works (for example where the signals control access and egress to the works).

"Safety at Street Works and Road Works, A Code of Practice" also states that the roads authority must be notified about the use of portable light signals.

The procedure to be used by undertakers when applying to use portable light signals is detailed in RAUC(S) Advice Note 8 - Portable Light Signals. This requires at least 7 days notice to be given for all works other than emergency and urgent works.

11.4 Maintenance of Undertakers' Apparatus


11.4.1 Undertakers are under an obligation under section 140 of NRSWA to maintain their apparatus in the road to the reasonable satisfaction of the road works authority, having regard to the safety and convenience of traffic and the structure of the road and the integrity of apparatus in it. Bridge, sewer and transport authorities also have an interest so far as any land, structure or apparatus of theirs is concerned.

11.4.2 Most undertakers, under their own legislation, have statutory obligations to maintain their networks - quite apart from which they must all maintain their systems in efficient working order so as to properly discharge safety and service obligations to customers. Where possible, the placing and recording of underground apparatus should be in accordance with the RAUC(S) Advice Note 12.

Practical Considerations

11.4.4 Although NRSWA gives road works authorities certain powers to inspect and carry out emergency works, neither roads authorities or undertakers expect the need to arise. However, should emergency works be required, then (without impeding any immediate emergency action which the circumstances may require) the matter will be resolved in accordance with the Disputes and Arbitration Code of Practice.

11.4.5 Where surface apparatus is found to be defective or the cause of significant surface irregularity, or where an unexplained subsidence or other disturbance of the road surface occurs, the procedures described in the Code of Practice for Inspections should be followed. The road works authority may arrange a joint inspection by agreement with the undertaker. Defective apparatus should be recorded in the SRWR.

11.4.6 It is important that only the responsible undertaker, or a specialist contractor working on their behalf, investigates suspected damaged or defective Undertaker's apparatus. Road works authorities may carry out investigations or remedial works using appropriately trained and experienced persons in the case of an emergency, or where the undertaker is unable or unwilling to use its own operatives or such specialist contractor.

11.4.7 Where the road works authority has opened the road or exposed an undertaker's apparatus in an emergency or in the circumstances described in paragraph 11.4.6, the undertaker will assist the road works authority by either jointly inspecting the problem to determine necessary remedial works or confirming approval for the road works authority to proceed.

11.4.8 The road works authority should specify the time within which it is reasonable for the undertaker to assist before the road works authority commences any remedial works.

11.5 Major Works for Road Purposes - Sharing of Costs

11.5.1 Regulations made under section 144(2) of NRSWA allow a roads authority to give notice to undertakers of major road, bridge or transport works where an undertaker's apparatus is affected by the works concerned. Details of the procedure can be found in the Code of Practice: Measures Necessary Where Apparatus is Affected by Major Works (Diversionary Works) and HAUC(UK) Advice Note No 2010/1 Diversionary Works.

11.5.2 Once a roads authority has placed a notice on the SRWR of its intention to carry out major works, this means that when calculating an undertaker's allowable costs there shall be disallowed costs for diversionary works incurred in respect of apparatus placed in the road after the date of the notice.

11.5.3 Roads that have been subject to such a notice will be recorded in the SRWR.

11.6 Other Publications

11.6.1 There are other publications which provide useful advice regarding the management of works in roads and which should also be taken into consideration when planning, co-ordinating and executing works. These include but are not limited to:

  • Code of Practice for Inspections
  • Safety at Street Works and Road Works A Code of Practice
  • Measures Necessary where Apparatus is affected by Major Works (Diversionary Works)
  • Reduction of Delays at Road Work - Code of Practice
  • HAUC(UK) Advice Note 2010/1 Diversionary Works

11.6.2 All of these documents together with all current legislation, Codes of Practice, RAUC(S) Advice Notes, HAUC(UK) Advices Notes applicable in Scotland and Commissioner Advice Papers are available on the Commissioner's website at

11.7 Working near Rail Tracks and Tramways

11.7.1 Works promoters planning works near to, adjacent or across the lines of road-running tramways must contact the transport authority responsible for that tramway as early in their planning cycle as possible. The transport authority's requirements can be incorporated into the works promoter's contract documents.

11.7.2 In relation to works near rail tracks, please see Appendix C.

11.8 Vehicle Parking at Road Works

The Code of Practice on Safety at Street Works and Road Works should always be consulted for advice on safety issues. For roads with a speed limit of more than 40 mph, Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual should be consulted.

Vehicle within Works Site

11.8.1 A works vehicle may be parked in a works site provided that it is necessary for carrying out those works. Basic site layouts are shown in the Code of Practice on Safety at Street Works and Road Works. A vehicle entirely within the coned-off area of the site may require a larger coned-off area than would otherwise be the case.

Vehicle outside Works Site

11.8.2 A vehicle may be parked outside a works site provided that it obeys the parking rules that apply to any other vehicle in that road. Outside the works site, the vehicle has no special status and no exemption from parking enforcement.


11.8.3 When assessing the impact of works, the parking of works vehicles must be taken into account. This is a particular problem for works which, but for the presence of a works vehicle, would take place entirely within the footway. If a vehicle is parked adjacent to the works, in a place which vehicles could not normally use, then it must be part of the works site. It must be signed and guarded appropriately. The works are then not wholly confined to the footway but encroach on to the carriageway. Noticing must reflect this.

Parking Restrictions

11.8.4 The Traffic Regulation Order imposing parking restrictions on a particular road should already contain an exemption allowing works to take place in a parking bay. Undertakers should check whether any further dispensation is required well before the works are due to start.

11.9 Storing Materials

11.9.1 Works promoters and roads authorities should take care to place materials so that they do not cause an obstruction to road users. This is especially important if the materials are stored away from the works site but still within the road boundaries. Storage must be notified separately through the SRWR if it is not completely contained within the works site.

11.10 Apparatus Belonging to Others

11.10.1 Under section 128, those carrying out works must ensure that the owners of apparatus belonging to others are able to monitor the works and that requirements to take reasonable steps to protect the apparatus are followed. Failure to do so is an offence.

11.11 Environmental Issues

11.11. 1Works promoters are strongly advised to liaise with the road works authority's arboriculture consultants and other environmental officials when drawing up proposals. This should ensure that wherever possible, and at reasonable cost, their requirements can be met.

11.11.2 An undertaker considering burying plant and apparatus that is currently above ground should contact any other undertaker with similar apparatus in that road to see whether it wishes to share the underground facility.

11.12 Fixed Penalty Notices

11.12.1 A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) offers the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for certain offences under NRSWA by payment of a fixed penalty charge.

11.12.2 The Code of Practice for Penalties sets out the procedures to be used when road works authorities issue FPNs under NRSWA. Although the primary legislation and the subsequent regulations set out the general framework for the use of FPNs, it is the Code of Practice which sets in place the practical details which will allow the process to work.