Obstructions to roads & pavements

It is illegal to obstruct the road. If somebody unlawfully assumes ownership of areas of a road, they are breaking the law. If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a road, they are also guilty of an offence.

In such cases the council, as the highway authority, has legal powers to enforce their removal.

You can report obstructions online or by contacting us at Streetline@towerhamlets.gov.uk  

Examples of obstructions

Obstructions are objects that have been unlawfully placed on, or which overhang the highway, such as:

  • builders' skips
  • scaffolding/hoardings
  • builders materials
  • temporary works including traffic lights
  • overhanging tree branches or hedges
  • mud/debris on the road
  • mixing concrete/mortar on the highway
  • unauthorised vendors/traders
  • encroachment of road boundaries
  • discharge of water onto the road
  • blocking ‘rights of way’
  • plants and bushes
  • illegal signs.

Spillages on roads

Spillages on the highway can lead to road traffic accidents or, at the very least, cost to the council.

If you see an incident of spillage on the highway, this might involve oil, gravel or sand being spilt on the road - or dropped cargo, please report it immediately by calling 020 7364 7070 (24 hour line).

Find out more about information on commercial waste and spillages.

Obstructed pavements

Any building materials that block the pavement cause an obstruction to pedestrians and are potentially dangerous. If you encounter any of the following problems please report them using the online form.

  • skips / scaffolding / advertising boards blocking the pavement
  • no barriers around street works / roadworks
  • banners or bunting causing an obstruction, or
  • any other building materials blocking the pavement, or building work that is endangering pedestrians.

Contact us

Email: Streetline@towerhamlets.gov.uk