Section 278 agreement - works to existing highways
Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 allows a developer to carry out works to the public highway. This is generally necessary where planning permission has been granted for a development that requires improvements to, or changes to, public highways. The agreement between the highway authority and the developer is called a Section 278 Agreement, and it may allow for items such as:
- Priority junctions.
- Junctions with traffic lights.
- Right turn lanes.
- Improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Improvements to existing junctions.
- Traffic calming measures.
The agreement may include:
- Details of the relevant planning permission.
- The agreed design.
- Details of any bond required.
- Details of who will design and manage the works.
- The programme for the works.
- Provision for inspection and certification of the works.
The developer may be responsible for designing, carrying out and paying for the works to the satisfaction of the local highway authority, or the highway authority may carry out the works. The developer may also pay for all or part of works carried out by the highway authority if they are carried out in a way, at a time, or are modified to suit the developer.
In addition to the works themselves, the developer may be required to pay costs associated with:
- Making the agreement.
- Agreeing the scheme for the works.
- Permissions associated with the works.
- Land acquisition associated with the works.
- Administrative expenses incurred by the highway authority.
- Maintenance of the works (commuted sums).
If the developer is carrying out the works, there may be a requirement for a bond to cover the highway authority against the possibility that the developer fails to properly complete the works, for example if they become insolvent. The bond will be released incrementally until a twelve month maintenance period has elapsed after the works are complete.
The planning application associated with the development will generally establish the principles of the works required. The highway authority cannot then refuse to enter into an agreement for the developer to undertake the approved works as long as the works meet the appropriate standards.
The procedure necessary to reach agreement can be time consuming and protracted, and so it is desirable to enter into discussion with the highway authority as early in the project as possible.
Section 278 Agreements are often entered into alongside Section 38 Agreements, which enable developers to ask the highway authority to ‘adopt’ new roads along with associated infrastructure such as drains, lighting and supporting structures. See Section 38 Agreement for more information.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works.
- Planning condition.
- Planning obligation (Section 106 Agreement).
- Planning permission.
- Reserved matters.
- Section 38 Agreement.
- Section 215.
 External references.
Featured articles and news
Post-Grenfell disaster, there have been calls for CPOs on unoccupied buildings. But what are they and how do they work?
Insuring a risk? Absolute frankness is the best policy, as this recent High Court case demonstrates.
A review of a new book exploring the subterranean city.
Unless the country can attract many more female engineers, the future of Britain's successful engineering could be in doubt.
Sajid Javid names the core members of the independent expert panel.
An introductory article to the different types of risk in construction projects.
Have a look at this strange experimental building in Chile.
ICE look at what engineers can do to help ensure the UN's Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved.
Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners win RIBA National Award for their British Museum extension.
The story so far.
Here is our list of the top 25 buildings in London. Do you agree with our selection?
Polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation and how it was tested.