Consultative Documents

TMS 65 Information for Highway Engineers

The Milestone Society



The Milestone Society (MSS) champions the finding, researching, protection and welfare of milestones, boundary and mark stones, mounting blocks, butter crosses, obelisks, old cast iron signs and fingerposts, collectively called Roadside Heritage Assets ("RHAs") in liaison with local Council Archives and Historic Environment Records Teams and English Heritage.

This document aims to provide technical and practical information and support to the engineers of the Highways Agency Managing Agent Contractors, Metropolitan, City and County Highways Organisations (the "highways authorities") and of the Asset Support (or maintenance) Contractors ("ASCs") based on the research of MSS members.

Responsibility for the Care Repair and Maintenance of RHAs

As a general rule, the "owners" of the RHAs are the highways authorities and the ASCs (the "service providers") are responsible for the day-to-day care and maintenance of the RHAs. Individual Asset Support (or maintenance) Contracts between the highways authorities and service providers will specify the duties and responsibilities of the parties relating to RHAs.

Where RHAs are "listed buildings" the duties and responsibilities of the parties will be subject to additional considerations such as those contained in the Memorandum of Understanding of May 2011 between the Highways Agency and English Heritage.

Data Relating to the Location of RHAs

Lists, descriptions and locations of RHAs are held by Local Authorities' Archives or Historic Environment Records (HER) Offices in each County, City or Metropolitan Borough Council. Although many highways authorities produced detailed survey records of RHAs in the past, MSS has adopted the task of searching for, identifying and recording RHAs in a form readily accessible in depositories on its website at These surveys are now virtually complete nationwide and are regularly up-dated to provide an authoritative database for the use of highway authorities and Service Providers. By a network of County Representatives the MSS regularly supplies up-dated information to highways authorities and to Archives/HER teams to ensure that the official lists are as accurate and comprehensive as possible.

Regular Survey and Inspection of RHAs

MSS members undertake informal RHA surveillance in their local areas and report new discoveries, apparent needs of routine repair and maintenance or damage back to County Representatives who, in turn feed information to highways authorities. Some MSS County Representatives produce regular Newsletters and circulate them not only to MSS members but also to the district highways surveyors and to contractors' personnel, creating a culture of co-operation and joint commitment to the safeguarding RHAs for future generations to discover and enjoy.

Guidance Notes for Asset Support Contractors

The Milestone Society has produced a set of guidance notes which has been compiled as a "Model Code of Practice for ASCs" (below) to be reflected in tender and contract specifications for Asset Support (or maintenance) Contracts. The model code is not cast in stone and is expected to be refined by highway authorities to suit specific circumstances.

The code is based on the following tenets:

(1) Knowledge of relevant RHA types and locations is fundamental
(2) Regular recorded inspection of RHAs ensures vigilance
(3) Periodic routine maintenance will give RHAs status and environmental value to the local community
(4) Hedge/verge-cutting Sub-contractor awareness of RHA locations will tend to reduce accidental damage
(5) Pro-active recovery of damaged RHAs will demonstrate commitment of ASCs to conservation objectives
(6) Prompt action will maximise recovery of RHA fragments and authenticity of restoration
(7) ASCs will recognise and respond positively to intelligence about damage to RHAs from authentic sources
(8) ASCs attention to proportionate Health & Safety procedures in the recovery repair and restoration of RHAs will be respected

Model Code of Practice for Asset Support (or Maintenance) Contract Service Providers

(1) The Service Provider's staff, operatives and sub-contractors must fully acquaint themselves and be aware of the location of all Roadside Heritage Assets (milestones, boundary/mark stones, old finger posts, bench marks, cast iron indicators etc) on the road network within their domain by means of database material and photographs obtained from (or provided by) local Council Archives and/or Historic Environment Records (HER) teams and the Milestone Society (MSS)
(2) The Service Provider, in liaison with the highways authority, shall be vigilant at all times and shall note and log the condition of all Roadside Heritage Assets (RHAs) on a regular basis
(3) The Service Provider shall regularly maintain the RHAs by, for example cutting long grass, removing ivy or other shrub growth in the immediate vicinity and cleaning, brushing and (where ordered or provided for in the contract) painting the stone or metal RHA in accordance with MSS guidance
(4) The Service Provider shall include in his drainage, crash-barrier, grass-cutting, hedge laying/cutting, snow clearance and other relevant sub-contract agreements a requirement that all RHAs must be protected in some appropriate manner to prevent unnecessary and avoidable damage where reasonably practical e.g. by temporary stakes and/or hand removal of shrubs and grass-cutting local to the RHA prior to the passage of tractor-mounted plant and machinery
(5) The Service Provider will be expected to be pro-active in the recovery, repair and restoration of damaged RHAs in liaison with the highways authority and with Council Archives/HER teams and/or English Heritage
(6) As a general rule the Service Provider will be ordered to take prompt action to avoid the loss of valuable fragments of the damaged RHA and to effect repairs incorporating as much of the original RHA as possible
(7) The Service Provider shall react within a reasonable time to advice received from highways authority "owners" and other legitimate sources that an RHA has been damaged (whether or not the Asset is a "listed building") and, in liaison with the highways authority, either
     • Repair the RHA in situ, or
     • Retrieve the loose or broken parts of the RHA to a secure place for storage and repair off-highway for later replacement at or near the original location
(8) The Service Provider will not be expected to repair a damaged RHA in situ nor to retrieve it for off-highway repair from a hazardous location without appropriate temporary safety measures and traffic management regimes being put in place: the Service Provider will, however be expected to repair in-situ or to retrieve the RHA as soon as reasonably possible and, in any event to do so when closures or partial closures are in place at the location for other purposes

Conservation Guidance

Via the Conservation Guidance link at highway engineers may access authoritative advice on the following subjects:

(1) Surveying milestones
• Risk assessment
• Survey sheet
• Glossary of terms
(2) Conservation and site work on milestones
• Position and conservation
• Appropriate levels of conservation
• Conservation guidance
• Suppliers of relevant materials
• Risk assessment
• Painting
(3) English Heritage guidelines
• Conservation of milestones
• Routine sustainable management and maintenance
(4) Commissioning a new or replacement milestone
• Power-point presentation
(5) Practical examples of milestone conservation
• Various case studies
(6) Department for Transport Advisory Leaflet 6/05
• Repair and conservation of existing traditional direction signs

General Note

The information provided in this document is given or referred to in good faith but highway engineers are reminded that they should verify all procedures materials and actions with, and follow the rules and instructions of their employers and the obligations and terms of reference (including insurance) of Asset Support (or Maintenance) Contracts at all times. The Milestone Society is a registered charity which supports but does not stand in the place of the owners of the Assets.

Alan T Reade BSc CEng MICE FConsE FFB
Milestone Society Highways Liaison Manager
28 August 2013