White and yellow roads

Tristan Craddock made this Freedom of Information request to Ordnance Survey

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Ordnance Survey did not have the information requested.

Dear Ordnance Survey,

What is OS policy regarding changing a road from yellow to white and checking if ORPA dots (Other Routes with Public Access) should or should not be applied.

Yours faithfully,

Tristan Craddock

Joanne Miles, Ordnance Survey

Dear Mr Craddock,

Request for information – FOI14499

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

What is the OS policy regarding changing a road from yellow to white and
checking if ORPA dots (Other Routes with Public Access) should or should
not be applied?


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 there is no specific OS policy where a road has
changed from yellow to no infill, and for determining whether an OPRA
(Other Routes with Public Access) should be applied.


However, under our duty to provide advice and assistance as stipulated in
Section 16 of the FOIA, we advise that Ordnance Survey sources change
intelligence for yellow-filled and uncoloured roads from the local
Highways Authority. Based on this change intelligence, Ordnance Survey may
change a road colour infill on its 1:25 000 and 1:50 000 scale mapping if
such a change would adhere to the following specification:


Road with yellow infill


Only tarred or concrete surfaced public roads maintained by a Local
Authority, or toll roads, are classified. Non-through routes in rural
areas, maintained as above, are shown to the limit of public maintenance
as perceived by the surveyor at time of revision.


Roads excluded from colour infill


·      Minor roads in urban areas.

·         Short lengths of “no through road” which primarily provide means
of access to e.g.: a small number of dwellings or other premises.

o Short loop roads resulting from road realignments.
o Roads with gravel or other inferior surfaces.
o Private roads and drives.
o Selected important tracks.



The depiction of a road, track or path of any description on an Ordnance
Survey map is, of itself, no evidence of a public right of way. The
omission of the colour fill is in no way intended to indicate a loss of
public access or otherwise, simply to convey to the map user a sense of
the type, nature and purpose of the road and to help guide the vehicular
user as to the appropriateness of the road for motor use.


Ordnance Survey began gathering information to depict ORPA’s (Other Routes
with Public Access) in the late 1990s. Our surveyors consulted each Local
Authority’s List of Streets, a list of all of the streets maintained by
the Local Authority, and decided which of these routes would provide a
useful addition to the existing rights of way network. These routes would
be shown by the ORPA symbol. Not all routes were shown, and we excluded
those in urban areas. OS had editorial control over which routes it
showed. ORPA’s are added or taken off the mapping on specific request from
the Local Authorities.

There is no specific OS policy where a road has changed from yellow to no
infill, and for determining whether an ORPA should be applied. However, if
the road that was changed from yellow to no infill connected to an
existing ORPA then OS would look into extending the ORPA along the new
section of unfilled road to connect with the yellow section of road. This
would involve consulting the Local Authorities List of Streets.

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

E-mail:  [1][email address]

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

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

E-mail: [email address]

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

In the meantime if you need to contact Ordnance Survey regarding your
request at any time, please quote reference number FOI14499.


Yours Sincerely,






Joanne Miles

Corporate Governance Executive (FOI), Corporate Office, Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive, SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom, SO16 0AS
Phone: +44 (0) 23 8005 5308

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