USRN stands for Unique Street Reference Number. It is an 8 digit unique identifier for every street across the United Kingdom. The USRNs for England and Wales exists within the National Street Gazetteer (NSG). The NSG is the authoritative source of information about streets in England and Wales and is a compilation of data from 173 highway authorities Local Street Gazetteers. The Highway Authorities might differ from the Local Authority.
So rather than High Street, SomeTown the road is given a unique number on records. This ensure that there is no confusion on similar roads in the locality or wondering if a place is in SomeTown or NextTown.
We will increasingly see the USRN used for identifying roads in the country as this data has now been released by the government and is available for all to use as required. I suspect that we will soon see the requirement to put both USRN and UPRN on planning applications in the not too distant future.
In order to find the unique USRN for your street, visit https://www.findmystreet.co.uk You can search via the local highways authority, which might differ from the local authority. This site was launched by the government last year and It will tell you where a street is, what its official name is, and the maintenance responsibility of that street. Any streets that are missing will be due to the highways department not updating the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) in England and Wales
Each street falls into one of four categories:
|Maintainable at public expense
|The street has been identified as maintainable at public expense. Detailed highway extents are held by the local highway authority.
|Not maintainable at public expense
|The information used to populate the National Street Gazetteer does not identify that any part of the street is maintained at public expense.
|Mixed maintenance responsibility
|More than one maintenance responsibility has been recorded against the street. Clarification must be sought with the local highway authority for relevant extents. This might be where the end of the road was not adopted by the local highway authority
|Street for Addressing Purpose Only
|Sometimes a street isn’t actually a physical thing, but is purely used for locating a property. This could include a Terrace. It is held in the National Street Gazetteer but is referenced as only for addressing.