How we carry out our inspections and information on our policy and procedures.
Why we inspect
As the Highways Authority we have a statutory duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highway network. We ensure that it is safe and that the public can use it without significant obstruction.
We do this by undertaking regular planned inspections and by responding to issues reported by members of the public.
Planned safety inspections
The purpose of our planned safety inspections is to proactively identify defects within the highway that are likely to create a hazard to highway users and ensure appropriate measures are put in place to manage the risk.
We make the decisions on which roads and footways are going to be inspected and at what frequency based on their hierarchy. Fundamentally the busier the highway, the higher the frequency of inspection. For example, busier strategic roads are inspected monthly whereas as quieter local roads annually.
Our inspection regime helps us obtain information that enables us to deal with the most urgent road repairs and safety defects first.
In addition to our regular safety inspections, we also rely on members of the public to report issues to us.
If you see a highways problem, please report it using our [online form]. Our target to inspect these reports in five working days and we have a team of Highway Area Surveyors who travel the county all year round, reactively responding to these enquiries.
How we inspect
We use a risk-based approach to the identification and resolution of highway defects.
The risk of the hazard is assessed by our highways team at the site so that the correct action can be taken. Some defects will be assessed as not being urgent but still need attention. We will plan these in to be fixed as part of our planned routine maintenance, and the works done at a later date.
Our Highways teams use our highway safety inspection manual (PDF, 2.4 MB) to help them when completing a risk assessment of a defect. It gives guidance about how quickly we should investigate and also timescales for any necessary repairs.
Our teams also use their own judgement to assess the risks that apply to what they find at the site and use their expertise to decide how quickly the repair needs to happen.
What we do next
After a defect has been identified, we will plan any repair work needed or pass it to our contractor.
We prioritise our response to repairing defects in line with a risk-based approach, which takes into consideration the impact and probability of injury or damage to the highway user as a result of the presence of the defect.
We consider factors such as the frequency of inspection, the location of the defect and its size or severity. Whether identified during a Safety Inspection or as part of a Routine Inspection we will determine the risk the defect poses and identify a suitable repair time frame as set out in our Safety Inspection Manual.
We may not take any action if it is not a safety issue and is not severe enough for us to repair. If we decide not to take action, we will continue to monitor the problem and will plan work in to fix the problem if it gets worse.
Roads that we are not responsible for
The following trunk roads and motorways are operated and maintained by National Highways and are not part of the road network that we are responsible for.
A38, A40970, A423, A435, A446, A45, A46. A5, M40, M42, M45, M6, M6 Toll and M69
Enquiries relating these roads should be referred to National Highways.