The law and our duties

Rail regulation

ORR holds the railway industry to account to meet the priorities of the governments in England, Scotland and Wales.

We operate within the framework set by UK and European legislation and we are accountable through Parliament and the courts. Our economic and safety functions and duties are defined in:

  • the Railways Act 1993;
  • the Railways Act 2005;
  • the Railways and other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006;
  • the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010;
  • the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

ORR also has economic regulatory functions in relation to railways in Northern Ireland and for the northern half of the Channel Tunnel, situated in the UK.

We are the national safety authority for Britain's railways under European Union law, and we also work with the Competition and Markets Authority to apply the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 in relation to the railways.

We are funded by the rail industry through licence fees and safety levies.

Statutory duties

We have a number of statutory duties derived from legislation.

Read our statutory duties

Highways Monitor

ORR monitors Highways England and its management of the strategic road network in England to ensure the network is managed to deliver performance for the benefit of road users and the public.

We operate within the framework set by English legislation and we are accountable through Parliament and the courts. Our monitoring and enforcement functions and duties are set out in the Infrastructure Act 2015.

Read more about our Highways Monitor function