What to expect

Bridges should be in a safe condition for public use.

Who is responsible?

Not all bridges on public rights of way are owned by Surrey County Council, however regardless of ownership, we have a duty of care to ensure that all bridges associated with public rights of way are in a safe condition. Generally, we maintain bridges over natural watercourses. Although there are exceptions, privately owned bridges have a higher private right, for example, private drives and access tracks. Larger bridges over man made obstacles such as railway lines are usually the responsibility of a third party such as Network Rail.

For Landowners

Regardless, of ownership, before carrying out any work to a bridge that either carries a right of way or passes over or under one you will need to consult fully with the Countryside Access Team via the report a problem page or the Surrey Contact Centre . You may also need Environment Agency approval and Planning Permission. You can check the requirements with your District or Borough Council.

When carrying out previously approved works you should not endanger users, or temporarily close a public right of way. Temporary closures can only be done by the Countryside Access Team.

You will also need our permission as the Highway Authority if you need to dig any new ditches or widen existing ones where they may affect a public right of way. You will need to provide and maintain any new crossing, which must have been agreed previously with us.

What happens next?

Any report received that has a safety implication will initially be passed directly to the Countryside Access Team for appropriate action. Bridges on Town paths, or large complex bridges will be forwarded to our colleagues in the Highways Structures Group for attention. If work is necessary on other Surrey County Council bridges and it is our responsibility we will issue an instruction for work to be carried out on a priority basis and in the most cost effective way. In some instances, it may be necessary to temporarily close a bridge if it cannot be made safe or repaired promptly. If it is the responsibility of the landowner then we will contact them as soon as possible.

Use our online form if you need to report a problem. You can also make an enquiry about a rights of way issue.

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