Report a highways fault

Report a highways fault

You can report highways faults in Cambridgeshire online by using our Highways Reporting Tool. Faults reported in this way will be assessed by a Local Highways Officer within 10 working days.

To report a highways fault that poses an immediate danger to the public, please read the guidance on reporting a highways emergency. Examples of highways emergencies include:

  • Manholes or gratings that are missing
  • Traffic signalled junctions or crossing, all lights out, damaged street lights, traffic signals, lit bollards and lit signs where wires are exposed
  • Debris, including mud, stones or oil on the road
  • Fallen tree or branch blocking part or all the road or path
  • Extensive flooding resulting in road being impassable
  • Large dead animals - eg cattle / deer / horse causing obstruction
  • Overhead cables fallen across the highway
  • Potholes - only deep potholes on busy A roads and main distributor roads that cause a danger to the public will be treated as an emergency
  • Road signs, safety fences, guardrails and other street furniture damaged so they are a direct danger or obstruction to the travelling public - for example if it's bent into the path of vehicles
  • Structure collapse - for example, bridge / culvert / wall / fences / scaffold / hoarding

If the highways fault is non-dangerous, then please continue to report the issue using our online Highways Reporting Tool. It will be assessed within 10 working days.

Please do not step out onto a busy highway to measure or photograph the fault you are reporting. Our Local Highways Officers will do this when they investigate your report.

Damage and personal injury claims

If you feel that damage to your vehicle or personal injury has been caused by defects on the highway and you intend to make a claim, please read the following section before completing the liability claim form.

Information for highway claimants

A guide to responsibility under Highways Legislation and for loss or damage caused by defects on the Highway

The County Council as Highway Authority is responsible the highway across the County. The Highways Agency, not the County Council, is responsible for the maintenance of trunk roads and motorways.

Before making a claim please consider the following information which explains some of the legal background to highway maintenance and the law which relates to it.

Section 41 of the Highways Act requires the Highway Authority, which is the County Council, to maintain all highways for which it has a responsibility. In order to fulfil this responsibility a programme of inspection is in place. Each road and footway is the subject of inspection, the frequency of which depends upon the classification, or status, of the road or footway. When a defect or fault is found on an inspection, any repairs which are needed are done within set times. Defects reported by members of the public are treated in the same way.

Section 41 of the Highways Act imposes upon the County Council the duty to maintain highways to a standard appropriate to their status and use.

To ensure that our obligations are met the County Council has in place a system of inspection for roads and footways.

In order to be successful, a claimant will need to show that the section of highway in question has not been maintained properly according to its status and was therefore unsafe. A claimant must also show that this was the cause of the incident and that a loss or injury has been sustained. It should be noted that Section 58 of the Highways Act provides the County Council with a "special defence" to claims for damage or injury arising from the condition of the highway, if it can show it has taken reasonable steps to maintain the highway.

The County Council will not have to pay compensation if it can show that it has carried out inspections and repairs as planned and reported.Please be aware that defects can develop very quickly particularly in the carriageway. The presence of a defect does not necessarily mean the Council is liable. If a claim arises from a defect that is subsequently repaired, this does not imply an acceptance of liability on the part of the Council.

Although unfortunately incidents do occur very few are actually attributable to the negligence of the County Council. The majority of the claims brought against the County Council are successfully defended.

If, after consideration of the legal principles a claim is to be submitted, there is a set process that applies. A claimant must supply full details of the incident by completing a Liability Claim Form which will include: the date and time; a description of exactly where the incident occurred; photographs of the incident site if available; details of damage or injury sustained. The claimant may be asked to attend a site meeting in order to identify correctly the accident location or its circumstances.

Claims will be dealt with in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules, which is the legal framework that governs claims of this kind.

A letter acknowledging receipt will be sent to the claimant within 21 days. The claim will be thoroughly investigated and within 90 days of the date of the acknowledgement letter a decision on liability will be given. The County Council will either accept the claim or produce sufficient evidence to refute it.

If the incident has occurred as a result of works carried out on the highway by others, e.g. a utility company or contractor then your claim may be against them and not the highway authority.

This procedure will be followed whether the claim is handled by the County Council, its insurers or their representatives.

Please think carefully before making a claim.

It is an offence to make a fraudulent claim for compensation or to exaggerate one. The County Council has a duty to protect public funds and may use the information provided for the detection and prevention of fraud. It may also share information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for this purpose.

Please return your completed Liability Claim Form together with additional documents (receipts, photographs etc.) via email to:

Alternatively, you can post your form and supporting documents using the address below:

Insurance Services

West Northamptonshire Council

One Angel Square

Angel Street



Telephone 01604 361682