Parish Council Powers

(this is not an exhaustive list)
Function   Powers & Duties   Statutory Provisions
Allotments   Duty to provide allotments.
Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights
  Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42
Baths and washhouses   Power to provide public baths and washhouses   Public Health Act 1936, ss. 221, 222, 223 and 227
Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria   Power to acquire and maintain
Power to provide
Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials
Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries
  Open Spaces Act 1906, Ss 9 and 10; Local Government Act 1972, s. 214; Parish Councils and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970, s. 1
Local Government Act 1972, s. 214(6)
Bus shelters   Power to provide and maintain shelters   Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953, s. 4
Bye-laws   Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds
Cycle parks
Baths and washhouses
Open spaces and burial grounds
Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms
  Public Health Act 1875, s. 164
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)
Public Health Act 1936, s.223
Open Spaces Act 1906, s.15
Public Health Act 1936, s.198
Clocks   Power to provide public clocks   Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2
Closed churchyards   Powers as to maintenance   Local Government Act 1972, s.215
Common pastures   Powers in relation to providing common pasture   Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34
Conference facilities   Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities   Local Government Act 1972, s.144
Community centres   Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or recreational objectives   Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19
Crime prevention   Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime   Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31
    Power to contribute to police services e.g. PCSOs   Police Act 1996, s.92
    Duty on Parish Councils to consider crime reduction in every policy and action   s17 Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended)
Drainage   Power to deal with ponds and ditches   Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Dogs   Power to make a Dog Control Order
Power to take enforcement action against those who commit an offence against a Dog Control Order
  Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
Entertainment and the arts   Provision of entertainment and support of the arts   Local Government Act 1972, s.145
Flyposting and Graffiti   Power to take enforcement action against those that flypost or graffiti   Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
Gifts   Power to accept   Local Government Act 1972, s.139
Highways   Power to maintain footpaths and bridle-ways
Power to light roads and public places
Provision of litter bins
Powers to provide parking places for bicycles and motor-cycles, and other vehicles
Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening
Power to provide roadside seats and shelters Consent of parish council required for ending maintenance of highway at public expense, or for stopping up or diversion of highway
Power to complain to highway authority as to unlawful stopping up or obstruction of highway or unlawful encroachment on roadside wastes
Power to provide traffic signs and other objects or devices warning of danger
Power to plant trees and lay out grass verges etc. and to maintain them
  Highways Act 1980, ss.43,50
Parish Councils Act 1957, s.3;
Highways Act 1980, s.301 Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, ss.57,63
Highways Act 1980, ss.30,72
Parish Councils Act 1957, s.1
Highways Act 1980, ss.47,116
Highways Act 1980, s.130
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.72
Highways Act 1980, s.96
Investments   Power to participate in schemes of collective investment   Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11
Land   Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose of
Power to accept gifts of land
  Local Government Act 1972, ss.124, 126, 127
Local Government Act 1972, s.139
Litter   Provision of receptacles
Power to take enforcement action against those that litter
  Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6
Cleaner Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
Lotteries   Powers to promote   Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, s.7
Mortuaries and post mortem rooms   Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms   Public Health Act 1936, s.198
Open spaces   Power to acquire land and maintain   Public Health Act 1875, s.164 Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10
Parish documents   Powers to direct as to their custody   Local Government Act 1972, s.226
Telecommunications facilities   Power to pay public telecommunications operators any loss sustained providing telecommunication facilities   Telecommunications Act 1984, s.97
Public buildings and village hall   Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies   Local Government Act 1972, s.133
Public conveniences   Power to provide   Public Health Act 1936, s.87
Sustainable communities   Able to be represented on a panel of representatives to be consulted on proposals that would contribute to sustainable communities   Sustainable Communities Act 2007
Town and country planning   Right to be notified of planning applications   Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para. 8
Tourism   Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities   Local Government Act 1972, s.144
Traffic calming   Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes   Highways Act 1980, s.274A
Transport   Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport
Powers to make grants for bus services
  Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26, 28 and 29
Transport Act 1985, s.106A
War memorials   Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter war memorials   War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923, s.1; as extended by Local Government Act 1948, s.133
Water supply   Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water from them   Public Health Act 1936, s.125
Well-Being   Power to well-being of the area (for eligible councils)   s2 and 4 of the Local Government Act 2000


Basic effective governance for a parish council entails:-

  • Understanding statutory duties, powers, and subsequent legal obligations;
  • Efficiently prioritising and undertaking activities arising from statutory duties, powers, and subsequent legal obligations;
  • Observing statutory prohibitions and limitations to their statutory duties and powers; 
  • Engaging with local residents and other key stakeholders to deliver the services and facilities required;
  • Taking informed, transparent decisions and managing risk;
  • Developing and increasing resources (land, property, finances, staff) commensurate with activity undertaken.