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Removal of highway status

How to obtain land that has highway status (request a Stopping Up Order).

There are two procedures available to do this:

  • Section 247 (S247) Town and Country Planning Act 1990 - as described below
  • Section 116 Highways Act 1980 (only used in exceptional cases)

It is important to note that a Stopping Up Order cannot be made retrospectively: you must get the Made Order first.

Before you start:

Contact us to find out where the highway boundary is.

It is unlawful to enclose the public highway and we have powers to enforce the removal of illegal structures. 

How to request removal of highway status

You should:

  • please write to us about your proposal first
  • provide a plan or a drawing clearly showing the area you are interested in.

We will then conduct an internal consultation. If the result is favourable we will advise you on how to proceed to the next stage and supply detailed advice notes. Following this the rest of the process can be done simultaneously.

If the area is still required for highway purposes, your proposal will be rejected.

Land ownership

You must make sure that you own, or will own the land by the time an Order is made.

Just because the area is public highway does not mean that we own it. See our page on highway status for advice on how to find out who owns an area.

At this point you may need advice from a solicitor.

Consulting public utilities

You will also need to consult all of the public utilities in your area: gas, water, electric, telecoms and sewers (each of their Customer Service numbers are in the phone book). You will need to provide written proof that you have asked them, but if any of them object and you cannot overcome their objection your proposal will fail.

Planning permission

A S.247 application hinges upon a planning approval over the area of highway concerned. You should make enquiries of your local planning authority. The planning approval must show that the stopping up is required to allow the 'development' to take place.

As an example, 'change of use' from the public highway to private garden may be an acceptable planning requirement.

S247 application form

Once you have all of the above information you can contact the Department for Transport's National Transport Casework Team for an application form covering a Stopping Up under Section 247 of the Town and Country Planning Act.


In a straightforward case, the whole process is likely to take around nine months to complete.

  • You must not put up any structure on the highway until a Stopping Up Order has been made.
  • Rights over the public highway are different to rights over private land, we can advise you further.
  • After the Order is made, the area will remain public highway until or unless the actual physical change takes place in accordance with your planning consent.