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Road definitions

Request for information – FOI14498


Thank you for your email of 1 October 2014, requesting the following information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000:

1. On what date and for what reason was there a change from "white" roads being:

a) "Under 14 feet of metalling tarred (yellow) and untarred (white)" to simply "Other road, drive or track, fenced and unfenced".

b) "Minor roads in towns, drive, or track unmetalled" to simply "Other road, drive or track, fenced and unfenced".

Our response

I regret to inform you that Ordnance Survey is unable to help you with your enquiry as we do not hold this information. We do not hold this information because we do not keep current records on the history and rationale for the changes to the depiction of yellow-filled and uncoloured roads.

However, under our duty to provide advice and assistance as stipulated in Section 16 of the FOIA, we advise that we do hold a copy of a 1971 edition of the 1:25 000 second series, which includes the following relevant legend wording:

1. Under 14ft of metalling, tarred

2. Under 14ft of metalling, untarred

3. Minor road in towns, drive or track (unmetalled)

We enclose a copy of the relevant section of the legend which shows that type 1. is depicted as an unfilled road with long orange dashes; 2. is depicted as an unfilled road with shorter orange dashes; and 3. is depicted as an unfilled road. No roads from this period were depicted with a yellow infill.

The “1:25 000 second series specification” dated 1976 includes the following classifications:

4. Minor road generally less than 4m tarred

5. Minor roads untarred, minor road in towns, drive or track

This wording would have taken effect on revised editions produced from 1976 where we updated the roads. In these cases we would have amended the depiction and legend description to reflect the 1976 specification. Some sheets revised and reprinted after 1976 would have retained the earlier description.

We have enclosed a copy of the relevant page from the 1976 specification and you will again notice that no roads appear to have a yellow infill at this point.

The classifications in our current 1:25 000 scale Explorer specification appear below. Our records do not show when this took effect or the reasons why, or whether there were any intermediate alterations to these features since the 1976 specification.

Road generally less than 4m wide [top classification in diagram (yellow)]

Other road, drive or track, fenced or unfenced [bottom classification in diagram]

I hope you find the above information is helpful to you.

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our FOI Internal Review Officer, by contacting them as follows:

FOI Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Email: foi@os.uk

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The FOI Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The FOI Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal with the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Email: mail@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 for advice, Monday to Friday.

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