We have a duty to make roads and other areas that we control as safe as possible. However if a road defect exists it does not in itself constitute negligence on the part of the Highway Authority.

The law

Our duty as a Highway Authority is defined in the Highways Act 1980. This Act requires a Highway Authority to maintain the highway network within its jurisdiction to a "reasonable standard". The fact that the Act only requires maintenance to a reasonable standard means that it recognises that the highway network cannot be kept in a perfect condition and that defects will arise from time-to-time.

The Highway Authority considers claims for financial compensation using the following criteria:

  • whether cyclical highway inspections have taken place
  • if defects were identified, were they rectified in a proper or timely fashion.

Similarly, if a defect was reported to us between inspections, by a member of the public, records will be checked to see if the correct actions were taken.

This is not an exhaustive list. Each claim is investigated on the circumstances specific to the incident that has occurred. However, the Highway Authority can only act on that which they have knowledge of, have identified on inspection or when reported to us by a member of the public or other organisations.