Classification of roads

Information about the classification of roads in the East Riding, how they are classified (e.g. A roads, B roads etc.) and who is responsible for this.

How are our roads classified e.g. A roads, B roads?

Road are classified by categorising them to help direct motorists towards the most suitable routes for reaching their destination. This is done by identifying the roads that are best suited for different types and amounts of traffic.

All UK roads are classified within the six categories listed below, from the highest class at the top (motorways) to the lowest class at the bottom (unclassified):


In the East Riding there are two motorways: the M62 and the M18. These are maintained by Highways England (formerly known as the Highways Agency).

Trunk roads

In the East Riding, there are two trunk roads. These are the A63 from the Hull border to the M62 and the A1033 from the Hull border to Salt End Roundabout. These roads are also maintained by Highways England (formerly known as the Highways Agency).

A roads

These are major roads intended to provide large-scale transport links within or between areas. Generally, an A road will be among the widest, most direct roads in an area, and is of the greatest significance to traffic travelling through the area.

B roads

These are roads intended to connect different areas and to feed traffic between A roads and smaller roads on the network. B roads are still important routes for traffic (including traffic travelling through the area), but less so than an A road.

C roads (classified unnumbered)

These are generally smaller roads intended to connect together unclassified roads with A and B roads, and often linking a housing estate or a village to the rest of the network. A C road performs a more important function than an unclassified road.

Unclassified roads

These are local roads intended for local traffic. The majority (53.6%) of roads in the East Riding fall within this category. An unclassified road will generally have very low significance to traffic, and be of only very local importance.

Large amounts of traffic and traffic travelling long distances should use higher classes of road (motorways) and smaller amounts of traffic travelling at lower speeds over shorter distances should use lower classes of road (unclassified).

Primary Route Network (PRN)

In addition to road classifications there is a Primary Route Network (PRN) which is the preferred route between a series of nationally recognised primary destinations. In the East Riding, the primary destinations are Bridlington, Goole and the Humber Bridge. Further afield, Hull, York, Selby, Scarborough and Lincoln are also primary destinations. A primary route is coloured green on an ordnance survey map and signed with green signs.

Who decides how roads are classified in the East Riding?

East Riding of Yorkshire Council, as the local highway authority, manages all local classification and Primary Route Network (PRN) decisions in our jurisdiction, consulting with neighbouring highway authorities (including Highways England) where relevant. Changes to the PRN or road classification do not require public consultation or advertisement.

The Secretary of State retains ultimate legal responsibility for road classifications and the PRN, and retains the right to intervene.

Can the classification of a road be changed?

Yes. Road classifications may be changed because of a change to any of the following:

  • The role the road plays in letting people travel from one location to another

  • The volume or type of traffic that the road should take

  • The traffic management objectives of the local authority

  • The standard of the road relative to other nearby roads.

Unless it has been made clear that a road should be categorised a certain way, it will automatically be categorised as unclassified.

The classification of a road may be made higher or lower based on any of the above factors. For example, a new A road may be constructed near to an existing A road. The existing A road classification may be lowered to a B class as the new A road will lower the volume of traffic on the existing road and will provide a quicker route to let people travel from one location to another.

Can a member of the public request that a road classification be changed?

Yes, members of the public can contact the council requesting that we consider reclassifying a particular road. They must give reasons why they think it should be reclassified. We will consider all applications and look at whether the request can be supported.

Do any planning rules apply if I live on a classified road?

If you wish to lower the kerb at the point of access to a new property from a classified road you may need planning permission. You can read more about whether you need planning permission for a dropped kerb in the planning section of the website.

Who can I contact for more information?

If you need more information about road classifications please email the highways asset management team on:


Alternatively, you can email the highway development management team on:


You can also contact Highways England using the details below:

Highways England (Formally the Highways Agency)
National Traffic Operations Centre
3 Ridgeway
Quinton Business Park
B32 1AF.

Tel: 0300 123 5000


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