Highway safety inspection policy

Last updated: 4 July 2023


This Policy describes Buckinghamshire Council’s (BC) process for the carrying out of Highway Safety Inspections and for the prioritisation and repair of defects identified in such inspections. This Policy will come into force from 4 August 2022 and applies to its Section 36 list of streets within its area that are maintainable at the public expense excluding Public Rights of Way. Certain metalled Rights of Way in urban areas are included as footways.

The establishment of an effective regime of inspection, assessment, recording and prioritisation of defect repairs is a crucial component of highway maintenance, providing a robust framework to address key objectives to maintain the highway in a safe and serviceable manner, as required by Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, consistent with the overall Asset Management Strategy.

Highway Safety Inspections are designed to identify, record and prioritise the repair of defects which may present an immediate danger, or significant inconvenience to users of the highway (emergencies), or to the structural condition of the highway and assets contained within the highway boundary (category 1 defects).

In addition, they may be used to identify defects of a lesser magnitude which may be included within future programmes of planned maintenance work (category 2 defects) or to indicate that a more in‐ depth service inspection may be required.

Highway Safety Inspections are supplemented by other inspections and assessments undertaken in line with national standards and/or good practice, including but not limited to:

  • ad‐hoc inspections undertaken in response to specific matters identified through correspondence
  • specialist inspections of certain assets within the highway boundary (for example street lighting and highway structures)
  • technical assessments of carriageway condition generally undertake using machine‐based equipment (for example SCANNER or SCRIM surveys)
  • structural maintenance visual assessments (CVI or DVI)
  • streetworks inspections