Highways Code of Practice update

  • The UKRLG is due to release a final version of a new Code of Practice for Highways Maintenance next summer
  • The draft revision included a transitional period and it is proposed the existing Codes will remain valid until October 2017
  • Over the next six months we will be releasing a series of supporting articles to help you understand the potential impacts and changes required to your highway management

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published, and is currently consulting on, a draft revision and replacement to the current Codes of Practice. The final revised version, likely to be named ‘Well-managed Highway Infrastructure’ had been due to be published before the end of 2015.

However, the DfT says due to the “overwhelming response” to its requests for comments on the Code, it has delayed publication until the summer of 2016.

“It is clear from the draft Code that substantial changes have been made to the current Code of Practice. The revised Code focuses on a risk-based approach to highways maintenance and is no longer prescriptive, meaning there is no guidance on hierarchal inspection frequencies, intervention levels or maintenance response times,” says Clive Speed, Regional Senior Claims Service Manager, Zurich Municipal.

The draft revision includes a transitional period and it is proposed that the existing Codes will remain valid until October 2017 to allow authorities time to prepare.

What you can do now

Determination of local service levels through a risk-based approach carries the possibility that levels of service could change distinctly across authority boundaries.

Local highway authorities are encouraged to collaborate when reviewing their highways maintenance policies and procedures, to maintain levels of service across boundaries.

It is also important to keep engaged with your Risk and Insurance Managers during revisions to highways maintenance policies, so that highways claims defensibility is not compromised.

History and background

The ‘Well-Maintained Highways – Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management’ is published by the UK Roads Liaison Group (UKRLG). The current Code of Practice was published in 2005 and was last updated in August 2013.

Work started in autumn 2014 to review the guidance in the Codes of Practice that provides advice on lighting, structures and highway maintenance for local highway authorities.