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Highway adoption process

We are responsible for overseeing the processes to secure the adoption of new highways and the modification of existing highways constructed by developers.

These are more commonly known as Section 38 and Section 278 agreement highway works.

We check that submitted details are in accordance with both the approved highway layout from the planning application and technical specifications in relation to the construction of the roads. During the construction phase we inspect site operations liaising with the developers, consultants and contractors.

Once the highway has been adopted we will be responsible for its maintenance.

Section 38 and 278 agreements

Agreements under Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980 concern the adoption of new roads as highway maintainable at the public expense. Agreements under Section 278 of the same act provide for developers to alter the existing highway network, usually as a requirement of a prior agreement under CIL / Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. See the legal agreement section for further details.

Adopted roads and private roads

An adopted road is a road for which we as local highway authority (LHA) are responsible for all the required maintenance and safety issues.

A private road can be an existing road that has not been offered for adoption or a new road that has not yet been completed to the appropriate standard required by us for adoption. The required maintenance and safety issues are the responsibility of the developer and/or owner until a road has been adopted. Roads offered for adoption under Section 38 remain private until a final certificate of adoption is issued and the agreement is completed.

Highways adoption guide

This is a step-by-step guide to our highway adoption process.

Each of these sections gives an overview of the key issues and the particular information required by the council at each stage.

We embrace the highway design philosophies set out in the Manual for Streets (1 and 2) together with the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges depending on the nature of the road and its particular environment. This guide highlights any particular procedures, specifications and other details that are used by the council.

The Department for Transport has published an Advice Note (April 2017) which may be helpful in understanding the process of Highway Adoption.

Scheme value Supervision fee
  Percentage of scheme value Minimum fee
Up to £49,999 15% £1,000
£50,000 to £99,999 10% £7,500
£100,000 to £199,999 7% £10,000
£200,000 and above 6% £14,000
  1. There is an initial fee of £1,000 to cover first-time approvals and the preparation of agreements. A larger initial fee may be requested depending upon the size and complexity of the scheme.
  2. The fee to cover the agreement preparation and administration is charged at 15% of the supervision fee (minimum fee of £1,000)
  3. These fees exclude safety audits, traffic orders and commuted sums
  4. Balance of fees is payable prior to start of works
  5. Repeat technical approval re-submissions checks and excessive re-inspections will be charged at actual cost plus 15%

If you have any questions about applying for either the adoption of new highway or the modification of existing highway please contact the Development Implementation team. Completed applications may also be sent via this address but please be advised that we cannot begin work on your project until we are in receipt of the £1,000 initial fee.

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