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Public Realm Design Guide for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation

Last Updated 20 November 2023

Press release

The National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) is pleased to announce the publication of the 3rd edition of its guide on designing public spaces with consideration to Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) Public Realm Design Guide Hostile Vehicle Mitigation. Aimed at all design professionals, their clients, Local Authority officers, venue managers and operators that are involved with the safety of the public realm and Publicly Accessible Locations (PALs), the Guide sets out how to take a coordinated and creative approach to the design of protective and preventative measures within the public realm.

In recent years there have been several attacks on the public using vehicles. Many towns and cities now deploy security barriers to help prevent attacks from vehicles, but there are other options that can provide additional benefits and enhance the public's experience of the public realm.

With support and expertise from a steering group comprising professionals from across the built environment, NPSA have set out clear guidance that explains vehicle threats and techniques used by terrorists. The guide aims to provide clear and practical advice on how to recognise and manage the risks and provides urban design principles and advice on the detailed design of typical streetscape elements. It also includes advice on typical scenarios, the design process, examples of real-life precedents, and references for sources of more detailed information.

The guide is endorsed by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Department of Transport, The Mayor of London, Transport for London, National Counter Terrorism Security Office, Landscape Institute, British Property Federation and The Crown Estate.

NPSAs Head of Physical Security commented:

"We are grateful for the input of all the professionals who helped us update this important Guide.  Since NPSA produced an Integrated Security Guide over a decade ago, attacks using vehicles have been on the rise around the world. Through this 'Public Realm Design Guide for Hostile Vehicle Mitigation', supported by a comprehensive programme of research, development and testing, NPSA are providing the design professions with a palette of measures and the necessary awareness, knowledge and tools to help keep the public safe. This Guide shows how safety and security can go hand in hand with aesthetics and appealing, multi-purpose design solutions."


This guide provides information and impetus to those responsible for integrating Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) into the public realm, in order to manage the threat from terrorist vehicle attacks.

It is important that our surroundings remain open and inclusive and that the addition of physical security measures designed to protect us are integrated and proportionate to the identified threat. The purpose of this guide is to assist the public realm design process and to encourage a positive and creative response to the challenges of counter-terrorism and protective security.

Awarded Finalist status by the Urban Design Group in its 2023 national awards.

Contact us 

Please get in touch with any comments or ideas for future iterations of the guidance - [email protected]

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