Complaints process

How to make a complaint to National Highways

Complaints process

If you’re unhappy with any part of the service we provide, we want to hear about your experiences so we can learn from them and improve.

Before you begin

We operate, maintain and improve motorways and major A-roads in England. We can’t respond to queries about roads we don’t manage, so please check our responsibilities and the roads we manage before you begin.

Complaints regarding traffic and transport regulations, legislation and policy should be addressed to the Department for Transport (DfT).

We have a separate procedure for complaints about Freedom of Information releases and Environmental Information regulations.

We also have separate processes that fall outside our complaints process that include (but are not limited to):

  • potential claims made by third parties against us, for recovery of damages and losses incurred while using our road network
  • matters set out in UK law (for example, the process set out for dealing with blight notices)

If your complaint is not covered by our complaints process, we’ll let you know. We’ll also give you information about where you should go next for help.

Please note: We do not expect our people to tolerate behaviour that is intimidating, abusive or offensive, or undermines their safety or wellbeing and that of others.

Find out more about our policy regarding unreasonable customer contacts.

To help us to deal with your issue as efficiently as possible, please provide us with the following information:

  • relevant dates
  • times
  • locations, for example road numbers or junctions, postcodes or marker posts
  • what you would like to happen next
  • how you would like to be contacted

Then send it to us at or phone us on 0300 123 5000 (local rate call). We’re available 24 hours every day.

Our customer contact centre will always try to resolve your complaint at the first point of contact. We aim to respond to all queries within 10 working days. If we’re going to take longer, we’ll let you know why and when we can reply.

If you prefer to send a letter, the address is:

National Highways
National Traffic Operations Centre
3 Ridgeway
Quinton Business Park
B32 1AF

Please make your complaint within 12 months of an incident happening or coming to your attention. In some cases, we may extend the timeframe if there are good reasons that stopped you from telling us sooner.

If our customer contact centre can’t provide an answer or you aren’t happy with their initial response, they’ll ask the relevant area of our business to investigate and respond to you.

We’ll aim to send a full response to you within 10 working days.

If we're unable to provide a response within 10 working days, we'll let you know as soon as possible, explain why, and let you know when you can expect a response.

If you’re unhappy with the response provided by the relevant business area, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed and investigated further.

We’ll aim to send a full response to you within 10 working days.

If we're unable to provide a response within 10 working days, we'll let you know as soon as possible, explain why, and let you know when you can expect a response.

If you wish to escalate your complaint to stage 2, you must make your request within six months of receiving the final response to your stage 1 complaint. We may extend the timescale if there are good reasons that stopped you from telling us sooner.

If you’re not happy with our review, you can ask us to refer your complaint to an Independent Complaints Assessor (ICA). Please be aware that the ICA can only review decisions in certain circumstances.

What the ICA can review

  • Bias or discrimination
  • Unfair treatment
  • Poor or misleading advice
  • Failure to give information
  • Mistakes (including decisions, actions and failures to act)
  • Unreasonable delays
  • Inappropriate staff behaviour

What the ICA cannot review

  • Regulatory decisions and outcomes
  • Disputes where the principal focus is on Government, Department for Transport (DfT) or DfT body policy
  • Complaints arising from contractual and commercial disputes
  • Complaints about the law
  • Matters considered by Parliament
  • Matters where only a court, tribunal or other body can decide the outcome
  • Decisions taken by independent boards or panels, for example: applications under the HS2 ‘Need to Sell’ scheme.
  • Decisions taken by, or for, the Secretary of State
  • Legal cases that have already started and will decide the outcome
  • An ongoing investigation or enquiry
  • How we handle requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
  • How we handle subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act
  • Personnel and disciplinary decisions or actions
  • Any professional judgement by a specialist (for example, traffic management decisions, or decisions by highway engineers)

An ICA can’t review your complaint if it’s being or has been investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. It can’t usually look at any complaint that:

  • hasn’t completed all stages of our complaints process
  • is more than three months old from the date of the final response we provided

You can find more information about what the ICA can and can’t look at and how your data is handled on the ICA website.

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP)

If your complaint is about a breach of environmental law, you can refer the case to the OEP once it has been through stage 2 of our complaints process.

The OEP can investigate potential breaches of environmental law by public authorities and if appropriate commence legal proceedings to enforce against failures to comply by public authorities.

You can find out more about how to complain to the OEP on the Complain to Us section of their website.

If you think we’ve not done everything possible to resolve your complaint, you can also ask a Member of Parliament to contact us on your behalf. Or you can ask them to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

The PHSO will expect you to have tried to resolve your complaint at the earlier stages of our complaints procedure before they look into it.

Our complaints process does not prejudice or prevent a referral of your complaint to the PHSO.