From time to time officers are required to deal with businesses and individuals who, for whatever reason, breach the statutory protection relating to highways. The initial aim of officers is to assist businesses and others to comply with their legal obligations without unnecessary expense or hardship. However, firm action will be taken against those who disregard the law. Enforcement action areas include: public rights of way, highways and highway works associated with new developments. Countryside staff have a duty to ensure that public rights of way are open and safe for use, free from obstruction and clearly marked. They are responsible for checking that works requested of owners/occupiers of land, for example, repair of stiles and clearance of crops, have been carried out to a suitable standard. The council, as highway authority, has a duty to maintain adopted highways to safe and serviceable standards. Staff have to protect the rights of the public to the use and enjoyment of such highways by ensuring they are free from nuisance, danger, obstructions, unlawful stopping up, interference and encroachments. New developments Carriageways, footways, verges and footpaths serving new developments will be adopted by the council and maintained at public expense provided they have been constructed in accordance with the authority's standards. Road and street works The council, as street authority, has a duty to co-ordinate works on the highways, including the works of statutory undertakers, in the interests of safety, public convenience, the protection of the structure of the street and the integrity of apparatus in it. The council also has powers regarding the timing of street works and the restriction of such works within 12 months of the completion of substantial road works. Enforcement and legislation Staff ensure that the requirements contained in the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, and its supporting codes of practice, including those for traffic management and reinstatements, are carried out effectively and efficiently. Officers may deal with matters formally or informally and the action may lead to prosecution.