The NRSWA Act – Cutting disruption on the roads

   21 March 2016        Blogs

The value of streetworks in the UK shouldn’t be underestimated. They keep our country’s roads safe, our traffic flowing and maintaining the supply of our basic living essentials, such as gas, electricity and running water.

The New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) was introduced in 1991, providing a compulsory framework for streetworks activities.

About the act

The NRSWA was created to ensure that anyone who works in the streetworks industry is qualified for the activities being carried out. It requires organisations to ensure that work to install, renew, maintain and inspect underground apparatus in the street is controlled by competent people.

Its aim is to ensure that you are compliant with relevant government legislation, it has three main objectives:

  • To ensure safety.
  • To minimise inconvenience to people using a street.
  • To protect the structure of the street and the apparatus in it.


To meet the requirements of the NRSWA, organisations must ensure that operatives are on the site when work is in progress. There must also be a supervisor to supervise the streetworks. A supervisor qualification does not qualify the holder to work as a qualified operative or vice versa.

In order to qualify for working on the highway both operatives and supervisors must be registered with the SWQR, who will issue you with a SWQR card; permitting you to work legally on the highways.

Operatives that are involved in any of the following areas will require NRSWA training:

  • Locating underground apparatus.
  • Setting up equipment for works.
  • Carrying out excavations.

At all times, any street works site must have at least one qualified supervisor appointed to the site who can oversee the works.

Why it is important

If road works are deemed to violate the NRSWA, an organisation can receive heavy fines. As we recently discussed, as part of the Government’s £15 billion Road Investment Strategy, the Department for Transport has announced that Utilities and Councils could be fined £5,000 for each day roadworks are left unattended at weekends.

The NRSWA aims to instil three key principles to streetworks:

  • Accurate Information: Whereby notice periods are given as far in advance as possible.
  • Communication: Where regular communication takes place between road works authorities and undertakers.
  • Flexibility: The need to balance conflicting interests between road users and the undertakers’ customers.

The future

More than ever, the efficient co-ordination of streetworks is one of the most important aspects of the industry, benefitting authorities, contractors and road users.

What Develop Training can offer

Selecting the right New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) training course or combination of courses to enable operatives and supervisors to work safely and effectively on public highways is straight forward with Develop Training.

As one of the country’s leading accredited providers of compliance, technical and safety training, you can trust in our capability to devise and appropriately update a comprehensive range of NRSWA training courses and reassessments, each of which complies with the Streetworks 1992 Traffic Management Act.

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