Highway Emergencies

If you find something that is dangerous or could cause an accident on the highway call our Customer Service Centre on 0345 606 6171. (Read about the change from 0845 to 0345 numbers).  

If the emergency is on a trunk road (PDF, 79kb) please contact the Highways Agency Information Line.

Please provide as much information as possible, including:

  • Description of the emergency – the size or extent of the problem; when it happened and the current situation;
  • The location – e.g. outside No. 5 “The Street”, “somewhere town”, or road number and location;
  • Your name and telephone number – so we can call you back if we need to get more information.

The following are examples of situations which could be regarded as emergencies and information which would help us assess and deal with reports of emergencies:

What has happened Information which will help us assess the situation
 Chemicals on the highway
  • Any information on what the chemical is (from the Hazchem plate on the vehicle (toxic, corrosive, flammable?)
  • Quantity of material involved?
  • Drip or flowing?
  • Is it close to a river/stream/ditch?
  • Name of the haulier (on the lorry)?
 Clinical waste on the highway
  • Any information on type of waste - syringes/tablets/liquids?
  • Are hypodermic needles visible?
  • Any information on what the waste is (from labels, packaging)?
 Dead animals on the highway
  • What is the animal andhow big is it?
  • Where is it - eg in the middle or edge of the road, or on the verge?
  • Is it causing an obstruction or potential danger to the travelling public?

If the road is passable eg small animals not causing obstruction, or fly-tipping on verge, please contact the District or borough council

 Debris on the highway - significant amount of debris likely to cause a danger to road users

  • What is the material?
  • Amount involved?
  • Does this present a danger to road users?
  • Any details of who caused the spillage?
 Flooding Please see our flooding information
 Manhole/grating covers (missing, broken or collapsed)
  • Is the cover on the highway (if it is on private/district council land please contact the owner of the property)
  • Is it broken, missing or collapsed?
  • Is the frame sticking  up or loose and moving?
  • Location - in road or footway, outside house number?
  • Type and size?
  • Any markings on the cover? Many covers belong to private companies or district councils but most do have markings on them (e.g. BT refers to British Telecom, AW refers to Anglian Water)
 Mud on the highway
  • Length of road affected?
  • Location of mud (e.g. across the whole road, one lane only)?
  • Any information on who deposited the mud?
  • We will deal with mud on the highway if there is a danger to the travelling public, but the person who deposited the mud is really responsible for cleaning the road.
 Oil, diesel or paint spillage
  • What is the material on the highway?
  • Length of road affected by the spillage?
  • Location of spillage (e.g. across the whole road, one lane only)?
  • Is it close to a river/stream/ditch
 Overhead cables fallen across the highway
  • Are the cables electricity or telephone wires?
  • Are they tangled in tree branches?
  • Location (e.g. across the whole road, one lane only)?

 Potholes 

Please note - only potholes deeper than 50mm and larger than 300mm diameter (size of dinner plate) on busier roads and larger than 600mm diameter on minor roads (size of dustbin lid) will be treated as potential emergencies.
  • size of hole (including depth)?
  • road type e.g. A or other busy road or minor road?
  • location in the road eg middle or edge
 Road signs
  • Type of sign
  • Is sign unsafe/presenting a danger to road users eg sign overhaning pavement or road?
  • Any details of person who caused damage?
 Safety fences, guardrails and barriers

Damaged safety fences on A class roads and leading up to bridges should be reported as emergencies.  This includes broken or sharp edges protruding in to the road or pavement.

In most cases fencing is owned by the adjacent property owner and should not be reported to us unless the damage blocks the highway.

 Street lights, lit bollards, lit signs The following are potential emergencies:
  • exposed electrical wires;
  • 4 or more adjacent lights out, whole streets, adjacent streets;
  • damaged columns, bollards, signs or lights;
  • flasher units outside schools not working;
  • belisha beacons at zebra crossings not working

Streetlights and other electrical equipment owned by us have a plastic plate giving a reference number and a contact telephone number.  Please supply the following details:

  • reference number
  • road name or number
  • town or parish
If you do not know the reference number, please give some other information such as a nearby house number. Please try to give as much information as possible about the fault, for example is there an intermittent fault or the light isn't working at all.
Traffic accidents Traffic accidents should be reported to the Police.
Traffic signals
 Trees (fallen branches/tree on the highway)

 

Is tree presenting an immediate danger to the public?
Size of tree/branch
Is the road or path blocked?  If yes, is there an alternative route available?
Alternative routes available?
Has location been made safe?
Has tree fallen across or brought down electricity/telephone?
Is the tree on ground or ‘hung up’ in cables?
Any information as to ownership of tree (land owner)?

 

  • Is tree presenting an immediate danger to the public?
  • Size of tree/branch
  • Is the road or path blocked? If yes, is there an alternative route available?
  • Alternative routes available?
  • Has location been made safe?
  • Has tree fallen across or brought down electricity/telephone?
  • Is the tree on ground or ‘hung up’ in cables?
  • Any information as to ownership of tree (land owner)?
Winter maintenance (gritting/snow clearing) Please visit our salting, gritting and snow clearing page