Who is responsible for highways in Bristol and how to make a claim for injury or damage

Responsibility for the highway

We're responsible for most roads and pavements in Bristol. 

We have a duty to maintain those categorised as ‘maintainable at public expense' under Section 41 of the Highway Act 1980 Go to https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/41 (opens new window).

These roads and pavements are regularly inspected and repaired where ‘actionable' variances arise.  

We can't action claims for: 

  • roads that are the responsibility of National Highways such as motorways and part of the A4 in Avonmouth

  • utility companies

  • private individuals

  • contractors

Report a problem with our highway

Before you make a claim, you can report the problem Go to https://fixmystreet.bristol.gov.uk/?filter_category=Carriageway+Defect,Pavement+Defect (opens new window) to us.

You'll be given an enquiry number which you should provide if you make a claim.

Make a highways claim for injury or damage to property

Before you make a claim consider the likelihood of your claim being successful. 

There is no automatic right to compensation for an injury or damage because of an accident.

It's accepted that roads and pavements will have surface variances and not all are considered dangerous or in breach of Section 41 Highways Act.

We will not be liable if we can show we have a reasonable system of inspection and maintenance according to Section 58 of the Highways Act Go to https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/58#:~:text=(1)In%20an%20action%20against,the%20authority%20had%20taken%20such (opens new window).

If you make a claim, we'll carry out an investigation to consider if there has been a breach of duty according to Section 41 of the Highways Act. 

Make a claim

Fill in the Highways Claim Form Go to https://bristol.alphatec.net/ (opens new window)  if you do not have legal representation.

If you are a Third-Party Solicitor and wish to submit a new Employer's Liability, Public Liability or Road Traffic Accident Claim against us through the claims portal. You'll need to use Policy Number QLA-05U002-0063 and Portal ID C00108.

This is a legal process and the information you tell us must be true and correct. We will investigate suspected fraudulent claims. If proved fraudulent, we'll recover costs through the criminal or civil courts.

Length of time to assess a claim

We assess all claims individually. The time it takes to assess a claim depends on type and complexity.  We:

  • will acknowledge receipt of your claim within 10 working days and tell you if we have enough information to investigate it

  • aim to finish our investigations within 90 working days of the full receipt of the necessary information to carry out our investigations and we'll tell you whether your claim is upheld

  • will tell you if there are delays in our investigation, which will significantly delay the claim


 For any enquiries email claims@bristol.gov.uk