The New Roads & Street Works Act

NRSWA governs road and street repairs in the UK

The New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) was signed into law by the Queen of England in June 1991 and lists regulations contractors must follow for construction of new streets or repair of existing streets and roadways in the United Kingdom (UK). England, Wales, and Scotland, which are within the UK, are specifically mentioned in NRSWA.


NRSWA consists of 5 parts and 171 sections. Part 1 is entitled “New Roads in England and Wales,” Part 2 is “New Roads in Scotland,” Part 3 is “Street Works in England and Wales,” Part 4 is “Road Works in Scotland,” and Part 5 is “General.”


Utility contractors are required under NRSWA to give notification of any work they plan to do on UK roads or streets, and they must keep detailed records of where their work equipment is and the projects they have underway. These records must be available for inspection by government authorities at any time. The act also demands that the supervisors hired by contracting companies meet the requirements of the “Qualifications of Supervisors and Operatives,” which is part of the UK’s street works regulations.

Locality Compensation

Sections 76 and 77 of NRSWA allow compensations relating to expenses a locale incurs or has to recover as a result of roadway work. Section 76 states that traffic authorities can recover, from road contractors any costs associated with issuing a temporary order to restrict or reroute trffic from affected roads. Section 77 says the traffic authority must be compensated by contractors for any damage to secondary roads or streets that results from the diverted traffic.


NRSWA’s Sections 6 to 18 and 27 to 41 contain regulations relating to establishment and collection of tolls on UK roadways. Toll orders can be requested and, if approved, toll roads can be provided by the highway authority or the secretary of state. Tolls can be in effect based on the length of time specified in the order, until the order’s stated financial goal has been met, or until the specified number of cars has passed through the toll road.


NRSWA, although signed into law in 1991, was implemented gradually and did not become fully in effect until 1993. The act replaced the Public Utilities Street Works Act that had been in place since 1950 and allowed utility companies to perform digging on UK roads without first obtaining permission from the local government.