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Road Verges: Ownership

Volume 417: debated on Monday 9 February 1981

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will state in general terms who owns the verges of (

a) motorways and ( b) main roads with dual carriageway; and whether in either case effective control rests with the owner.

In England and Wales motorways are normally provided on land acquired by my right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and for Wales, who are highway authorities. But local highway authorities (county councils) have similar powers to provide motorways and have done so in a few cases. Effective control of the verges rests with the highway authority concerned. Main roads with dual carriageway again are the responsibility of either the Secretaries of State (in the case of trunk roads) or local highway authorities. The land on which they run may have been acquired by the highway authority or it may have been dedicated for highway purposes. In the case of acquired land, the verges will be owned by the highway authority; ownership of land dedicated for highway purposes remains with its original owner or his successors in title, subject to the functions of the highway authority and the rights of way of the public. But, in both cases, the verges, as part of the highway, will be in the effective control of the highway authority.