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Repeal dropped kerb regulations

Comment 9th August 2010

Regulations governing specifications for dropped kerbs should be repealed from the Highways Act. Specifications should be either abolished in their entirety or devolved to local authorities to decide.

Why does this matter?

While most people will not necessarily argue that 'tampering with the highway' should be illegal and only legal works permitted and/or carried out by councils, why is it that Government have specified in Regulations the conditions for dropped kerbs to be allowed?

MPs may have been concerned that having a dropped kerb encourages car use. MPs may also have been concerned about preserving front gardens. Or perhaps even that far too many people were indeed tampering with the highway.

Unfortunately, for the Government not all communities are the same and these specifications, e.g. that households must have 4.8m of space in front of their property in order to be permitted to have a dropped kerb, cause other problems. In many pre-war city areas two-ups-two-down-style houses have plenty of space in front of their houses, but just shy of the magic 4.8m. In many cases those areas are already paved or are hard-standing. The average car will fit comfortably and will nto overhang the highway.

It can hardly have escaped Government's notice that cities are full of residents with cars. When parking is limited on a grand scale it pits neighbour against neighbour, creates poor visibility up and down roads and removes any right of appeal at the local level.

These specifications should either be repealed outright or devolved to local authorities so they can apply discretion and set local rules on permitting dropped kerbs. 

Such an amendment would not cost the state any additional money as local people requesting dropped kerbs pay for the application and any subsequent works.

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