11 January 2019

A new code of practice for looking after highways assets such as roads and footways in Northamptonshire will be considered by the county council’s cabinet next week.

The code deals with matters such as the frequency of highways inspections and investigatory levels for potholes.

Highways authorities are required to update their existing codes, with the new guidance allowing them to tailor policy to suit local criteria, using a risk-based approach.

The changes in Northamptonshire will allow the county council to give greater focus on busier routes, which also receive heavier use by HGVs.

The council will also be updating its hierarchy of roads in the county so that there are now seven different categories of highways as opposed to the current five.

Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said:


“The existing code has been in place for many, many years and that is why we, along with other local authorities, are required to update it.

“A new code was needed to reflect changes in how different roads in various parts of the county have changed in their importance over the years as the economy changes and populations grow.

“The new code and hierarchy will allow a more nuanced approach to the way we inspect and repair the highways with inspectors using more discretion to make sure more significant defects are prioritised.”

The new road hierarchy was developed using computer technology to evaluate a number of criteria including traffic volumes, HGV use, proximity to industrial areas and whether roads are used as diversion routes from motorways.

Despite the flexibility which has been allowed for counties to establish the new codes there is still a requirement to work with neighbouring authorities to make sure that there is relative consistency across county boundaries.

If the proposals become policy they will be reviewed after two years to make sure they are working as desired.