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Parliamentary roads

From early times, transport petitions have been submitted to Parliament about roads. For example, the Parliament Rolls record of 1290 has Walter Goodlake of Wallingford seeking permission to levy tolls on a stretch of road to carry out repairs. In 1304, a road leading to Salisbury was placed in the charge of the bishop to ensure its repair.

Petitions and Private Acts

These petitions were made to the Crown in Parliament. It wasn't long after that petitions were addressed to one of the two Houses of Parliament and sometimes resulted in a Private Act.

The earliest about a road is a statute of 1421, dedicating a recently-repaired road and bridges between Abingdon and Dorchester-on-Thames to public use.

Public legislation

There has also been much public legislation governing roads. This has included numerous Acts which attempted to protect certain roads by restricting the size of loads carried on them, or by specifying minimum wheel widths. The Highways Act of 1835 also formalised the practice of driving on the left.

In 1992 the Transport and Works Act provided for local inquiries and ministerial orders in place of private legislation so reducing the number of private bills that came before Parliament.

External link

The original parchment rolls of Parliament from the thirteenth century are at the National Archives at Kew.

Related information

Find out more about Private Bills and Acts

Current parliamentary business on the topic of roads