Advice to landowners as walls collapse

Posted on: November 7, 2023 at 2:45 pm

A spate of collapsed private walls during the recent wet weather has prompted an appeal from Island Roads.

The highways PFI company is asking landowners to inspect walls that adjoin the highway to ensure they are in good condition and do not pose a risk for highway users.

During the past week’s wet weather, at least seven private walls have collapsed – or partially collapsed – onto the network. Fortunately, no one was hurt in any of the incidents, some of which saw significant amounts of stonework fall onto the adjacent footway or road.

Island Roads is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 600 walls that retain the highway network and has inspection regimes in place to monitor their condition. But there are also numerous other boundary walls and retaining structures adjoining the network that private landowners are responsible for maintaining.

“There are some simple steps that people can take to make an assessment of their wall to determine if it is at risk of failing.” said Island Roads Structures Manager Joanne Saunders.

“For masonry walls, owners should check whether the surface of the brickwork is crumbling and that the mortar between brickwork is in good order – it is also important to look to see whether there are any cracks in the structure.

“This assessment is very important because it is clearly better to prevent a collapse occurring then to have to repair a wall that has failed.

“In extreme weather it may be that some damage is inevitable, even to walls in good condition, but our advice is that people should take time to check out their walls and seek professional advice should any defects be found. This is particularly so after such a period of wet and windy weather as we have just experienced.”

Further advice on what to look for can be found on