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Road Closures

As road closures can cause disruption to drivers, pedestrians, residents and businesses, they should only be considered if absolutely necessary.

Closing a public road, footway, footpath or verge without a lawful closure order is illegal.

Along with Kent Police and Kent Highways we review road closure requests to ensure that road closures are issued under the appropriate legislation and executed safely.

We recommend that you evaluate your traffic management plans and ask the question:

  • Does my event have to take place on the Highway? 

Safety is of paramount importance at events and there are considerable risks associated with working on the Highway.  We can work with you to discuss potential alternatives.

Our collective aim is to:

  • Better understand an event and the reasons why a road closure is being requested
  • Establish if a road closure is completely necessary - is there a safer alternative?
  • Ensure that the road closure is completed under the correct legislation
  • Ensure that the correct paperwork is submitted with the application (public liability, risk assessment, signage schedule, diversion plan if applicable)

The Legislation

There are two sets of legislation that can be used to authorise a road closure

  • The Town Police Clauses Act 1847 
  • The Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984.

Once the need for and location of a closure is confirmed, the nature of the event will determine the legislation used. The relevant legislation is not always obvious but, broadly, the legislation used will be as follows:

  • Sporting / leisure events on the highway require the use of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. (for example cycle races, triathlons, running races)
  • Events involving processions, rejoicing, illuminations or ‘thronging’ will generally use the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (e.g. carnivals, Remembrance Day events).

The legislation used will have little effect on you as the event organiser. However, it must be noted that each road can only be closed once per year using the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984. Accordingly, this may influence the decision on whether a closure using this legislation could be granted if the road has previously been closed for another event earlier in the year.

Following the correct legal procedure for processing road closures takes time, so there is usually a minimum notice period required for any road closure request. This will depend on the road being closed, the legislation being used, the type of event and the authority processing it. Notice periods range from six weeks to six months. Event organisers should contact the relevant organisation, either the district council or the traffic authority, to find out what precise notice period is required as soon as the need for a closure is decided. Without the correct advance notice period it may not be possible to process a closure application.

A risk assessment, signage schedule and copy of Public Liability insurance must be submitted to DDC before any road closure can be approved.

A road closure may also require a diversion route, which can be decided in consultation with DDC and the traffic authority. The traffic authority will make every effort to keep the diversion route clear of other incidents, works or events. However, it is possible that an unplanned incident or emergency works has to be carried out on the diversion route. Accordingly, a backup diversion route may need to be considered. This is usually only necessary for large or events lasting more than one day.

The traffic authority for Kent is Kent County Council (KCC) Highways & Transportation and the Highways Authority and they are responsible for the roads in our district.  Although DDC has the authority to issue a road closure notice under Section 21 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, the consent of KCC to use the road is still required.

It should be noted that only those with a CSAS qualification have a power to stop and direct traffic and therefore, if this is a requirement of your event the use of a traffic management company should be considered.

What we need you to do

All organisers will need to provide a detailed explanation in their application as to why they are seeking a road closure.  It is important that you explain in detail what takes place at your event and what activities involve the highway so that we can determine if it can be covered under the TPC legislation.

The following documents must be submitted for all road closures at the time of application:

  • Public Liability Insurance (£5 million minimum)
  • Health and Safety Risk Assessment
  • Signage Schedule (map of the roads to be closed and what signage you will use and where is will be placed)
  • A diversion plan (if applicable)

Your road closure request will then be reviewed in consultation with Kent Police and the Highways Authority.


Please consider the following factors in the earliest planning stages:

  • Plan the event to take place out of peak traffic hours. (such as 7am to 9.30am and 4pm to 6pm)
  • Are there any lessons from previous events that need to be taken into account?
  • Do you have enough resources to procure and maintain the signs needed?
  • Are staff competent and trained to place, maintain and remove signs?
  • Have you applied for and received permission for the closure from the district council or traffic authority?
  • Have you consulted with local residents/businesses/organisations or local disability groups about the closure?
  • What are the options for diversion routes? The traffic authority or the district council will ultimately decide what the diversion route is, but it helps to consider it at an early stage.
  • Are there any motorways or major roads that might be affected? If so, a closure may well be refused or direction signing could be prohibitively expensive.
  • Have you consulted with local bus companies and/or emergency services regarding the closure?
  • Have you made any contingency plans for emergency access to your closure, for example to attend an accident?
  • What plans are there to remove broken down vehicles from within the closure or the diversion routes?
  • What plans have been made to avoid/remove vehicles already in place before the closure starts?
  • What plans are there to enable businesses or residents to access their property within the closure?
  • What training/briefings will be provided to event staff managing the closure?


See Traffic Management for more information »


Email: events@dover.gov.uk