Event safety guide for event organisers

Last updated: 2 October 2023

12. Road closures

This section is for organisers with an outside event on or near the highway such as a street party, parade, carnival, running races or cycling event. Depending on the circumstances we may or may not grant closure orders, so it’s important to know well in advance. For further advice on how to apply contact Buckinghamshire Highways by email at [email protected]

Closures likely to apply include Section 21 `Town Police Clauses Act 1847' used for road closures during special events on minor roads and Section 14 or 16 `Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984'. You face additional costs for signage and contractor fees. Most road closures for small events will be processed under Section 21.

Section 21 'Town Police Clause Act 1847':

  • used for road closures during special events
  • there is a 3-month notice period needed to organise the closure
  • the notice is displayed solely on the street to inform people locally of the reasons for closure
  • the organizer is responsible for providing, maintaining and removing all signs and barriers
  • there is no charge for this type of road closure
  • the organizer will have to provide, maintain and remove road closure signs
  • the council can provide names of suppliers

Section 14 or 16 'Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984':

  • used for all types of temporary traffic orders including road closures
  • used for programmed events, this may require any type of restriction. This includes road closures, waiting restrictions, speed limits etc
  • there is a 3-month notice period needed to organise the closure
  • the organiser is responsible for directly informing residents and providing, maintaining and removing all signs and barriers
  • the authority is likely to charge for applications of this type

Applying for a Closure Order

Applications for road closures should be made a minimum of 3 months prior to the event. This enables us to carry out a risk assessment to identify whether or not your event clashes with other major events or planned road closures. If clashes occur, we may not grant your application and may recommend that you consider an alternative date or venue. Ignoring such advice could seriously affect the safety of people attending the event and disrupt every day community life. Your insurance cover could also be affected.

You will need to provide full details of the event including timings, streets to be closed and alternative routes. Special requirements such as parking restrictions in or adjacent to the closure should also be highlighted.

Any event on the highway must be adequately signed and the signs must be approved by the council.

A minimum of £10 million Public Liability Insurance is required to indemnify the authority against all third-party liabilities and you will have to include an insurance certificate with the application. Failure to enclose this information will prevent the application being processed.

It is a good idea to consult with the relevant town or parish council, who will be able to provide a valuable co­ordination function, ensuring that no clashes occur with other local events.

The event organiser must consult with Thames Valley Police to ensure that they are satisfied with the provisions made for safety.

Remember: The role of a marshal is to ensure the safety of the participants of an event, rather than control the movement of traffic. Only the Police have the authority to regulate traffic on the public highway. Advertising on the public highway is not permitted.

Road closure guidance

For information on applying for a road closure see Apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order.

Guidance on organising a running race is available from the Race Directors' Club - runbritain and the Home Office's Good Practice Safety Guide for small and sporting events taking place on the highways, roads and public places.

Organising a cycling event guidance is provided by British Cycling. They also offer information about the accredited marshalling scheme.