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Local Authorities Handed Greater Control of Road Network by Department for Transport

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2013-01-27 22:01:16 - English Local Authorities have assumed responsibility from the Department for Transport for the management of the roads classification system

London, 27th January 2013 - From April 2012, the Department for Transport (DfT) handed greater responsibility to English local highway authorities for the management of the roads classification system.

Roads are organised through the roads classification system, along with the dedication of a primary route network to advise people to the recommended route to use. This network then provides easily identifiable routes to access the whole of the country.

While authorities previously undertook the majority of the work involved in reclassifying a road, there was always the need to secure the agreement of the DfT for each new classification. Under the new approach, local highway authorities are now responsible for classifying roads which gives them the power to title ‘A’,

‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘U’ roads without the need for central government approval.

Michael Dnes, head of roads classification at DfT, said “We are pleased to be able to give local authorities more control over local roads, without the need for the Department to approve every change. We hope this will give councils another tool to use in managing traffic in their areas – and one that is instantly recognisable to motorists.”

Additionally, local highways authorities are now responsible for defining the primary route network (PRN) within their authority. The PRN is the most satisfactory route for through traffic between places of traffic importance and is comprised of ‘A’ roads.

The reasoning behind this change is that local knowledge and local control of roads should help to reduce traffic jams and enable easier flow of people and vehicles through the road system.

In order to carry out these functions, local authorities need to fill in a single form for each change in road classification, submit the form to the central repository at GeoPlace LLP, along with any associated documental evidence, and then enter it into the National Street Gazetteer (NSG). It then automatically becomes live, without the need to wait for approval.

Simon Bailey, NSG Custodian at GeoPlace commented "Local authorities are well placed in understanding their road networks and identifying the roads that are best suited for traffic. GeoPlace already works very closely with local authorities in maintaining and managing the NSG. Bringing this data together with the primary road network and street classifications can only serve to benefit road users and reduce overall congestion”.

This process is limited to English Authorities. Welsh and Scottish authorities will continue to operate separate processes through Welsh government and Scottish government.

Further guidance from the Department for Transport can be found on the NSG website or via

Contact Information:

GeoPlace, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SP

Contact Person:
Gayle Gander
Head of Marketing
Phone: 020 7630 4600
email: email


Carl Hancock
Phone: 02076304600

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