Legislation

This page gives some useful links to highway-related legislation which may be of use to campaigners and other bloggers. If you need legal advice, you should consult a solicitor.

Well-used office copies!
ACTS are also known as enabling legislation which sets out the framework for the area legislated. REGULATIONS are secondary legislation which sets out the detail by which the area is operated.

For example, Section 64 onwards of the Road Traffic Act 1984 sets out the various powers which can be used to place traffic signs (and in which circumstances) and The Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002 prescribe the full details on what the signs should look like, where they should be placed, if they should be lit and so on.

Section is normally abbreviated to "S" and the pieces of legislation are often known by their initials such as TSRGD2002.

Acts quite often amend older legislation and so it is always a good idea to look at the legislation as amended and this is often found on line at the Government legislation archive.


Highways Act 1980
Deals with all sorts of aspects on how highways are built, maintained, improved and operated. Gives details of highway authority powers (used with discretion) and duties (things they have to do).

Road Traffic Act 1988
Contains a variety of things including driving (and cycling!) offences, regulation of racing on the highway, use of protective measures (e.g. seatbelts), construction & use of vehicles, driver licencing and driving instruction.

S39 is an interesting clause as it includes local authorities' general duty to promote road safety which essentially means putting into place casualty-reduction programmes, plus changes being made to the road network need to be safe. I am not aware of any case being brought against a highway authorities for not satisfying S39 and it is not surprising as it is a general duty rather than an absolute duty,

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Contains a wonderful array of clauses which allow a megalomaniac to permanently or temporarily control the flow and type of traffic of all kinds. Includes speed limits, parking, road closures, use of traffic signs and parking enforcement. Greater London has its own bits of legislation and there is even a reference to hovercraft!

The Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2016
Sets out all of the prescribed traffic signs (including road markings) which can be used in the UK and under which circumstances they may be used.

The Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999
Governs the consultation, placement, dimensions, lighting requirements and signage requirements for road humps (sometimes called speed humps).

The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure)(England & Wales) Regulations 1996
Sets out the who and how of the advertisement and consultation on Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) proposed under various sections of The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The Highways (Traffic Calming) Regulations 1999
Sets out what features are designated as "Traffic Calming", procedures for advertisement and consultation and the circumstances under which certain signs are required.

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