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Our road network and the way we operate it has a direct impact on everyone’s lives.  Whilst the primary purpose of our highways is to facilitate safe and convenient travel for all, they also serve an important function in accommodating the essential services on which we all rely - water, gas, electricity and telecommunications. 

To make sure these services operate reliably, utility companies must, from time to time, maintain, repair and install apparatus under our roads.  Given the impact these works can have on the travelling public, it is important that they are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.  At the same time, utilities have to reinstate the roads to certain standards to ensure they do not shorten their life or create uneven running surfaces.

This statutory code of practice, published under Section 71 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, is key to achieving these aims.  The previous edition was last updated in April 2010 and much has changed since then.  Apart from issues that have arisen over its interpretation, many innovations in reinstatement techniques and materials have been introduced that were not covered. 

The 4th edition is intended to address these issues and bring the document up to date.  It supports innovation and allows new techniques and materials to be used.  It should help reduce the time taken to carry out street works and make it easier for utilities to get their reinstatements right first time, and so avoid return site visits.  It should also improve the quality and durability of reinstatements, and help to protect this vital national asset.

We would especially like to thank members of the SROH working party (a Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee working group) for the considerable contribution they made in developing this edition.  Their advice was invaluable in helping us to identify the issues to be addressed and in suggesting ways to resolve them. 

We would also like to thank the wider group of experts from across this sector for their input, advice and contributions to the new SROH, and AECOM/Arup who led on the update of this document and delivered a technical specification that will support and deliver our aims for high quality and well-managed street works.

This version of the Code replaces the 3rd edition in England and comes into force  as statutory guidance on 10th May 2021. It can be used by agreement with local authorities until then, especially if it helps during the coronavirus pandemic.