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Highways Act 1980

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101 Power to fill in roadside ditches etc.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)If it appears to the highway authority for any highway that a ditch on land adjoining or lying near to the highway constitutes a danger to users of the highway, the authority may—

(a)if they consider the ditch unnecessary for drainage purposes and any occupier of the land known to the authority agrees in writing that it is unnecessary for those purposes, fill it in; or

(b)place in the ditch, or in land adjoining or lying near to it, such pipes as they consider necessary in substitution for the ditch, and thereafter fill it in.

(2)A highway authority shall pay compensation to the owner or occupier of any land who suffers damage by reason of the exercise by the authority of any power under subsection (1) above.

(3)If a person, without the consent of the highway authority, opens up or keeps open any ditch which has been filled in under subsection (1) above (except as may be reasonably necessary for the purpose of doing work on any pipes placed in the ditch), then—

(a)the authority may carry out any work of repair or reinstatement necessitated by his action and may recover from him the expenses reasonably incurred by them in so doing; and

(b)without prejudice to their right to exercise that power, he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding three times the amount of those expenses.

(4)Nothing in section 263 of the M1Public Health Act 1936 (which prohibits the culverting of watercourses in certain districts without the approval of the local authority) applies to anything done under subsection (1) above.

(5)A highway authority shall not exercise their powers under subsection (1) above in such a manner as to be likely to cause damage to or affect the drainage of any land or works used for the purposes of a railway or canal undertaking, except—

(a)after giving not less than 14 days’ notice to the undertakers of the manner in which it is proposed to exercise those powers; and

(b)in accordance with any reasonable requirements of the undertakers of which notice is given to the authority within 14 days from the date of service of the authority’s notice;

and any question whether any such requirement is reasonable shall, in default of agreement, be determined by the Minister.

(6)In this section, “ditch” includes a watercourse and any part of a ditch or watercourse, and “pipes” including culverts, tunnels and other works.

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