Highways—adoption agreements
Highways—adoption agreements

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Highways—adoption agreements
  • Powers to adopt
  • Section 38 agreement
  • Maintenance
  • Requirements for adoption
  • The s 37 procedure
  • Advance payments code
  • Works on the existing highway
  • Dedication of land not owned by the developer

Powers to adopt

The Highways Act 1980 (HiA 1980) gives highway authorities the power to adopt new highways by agreement, places a duty on highway authorities to maintain adopted highways at public expense and provides for payment to highway authorities for highway works and their maintenance, provided the authority is satisfied that it will be of benefit to the public.

Section 38 agreement

Adoption under HiA 1980, s 38 is the most common way of creating new highways that are maintainable at the public expense. The developer must construct streets to an agreed standard, having secured technical approval of the highway authority to the designs. This process takes place in accordance with a legal agreement between the developer and the highway authority. The s 38 agreement sets out the obligations of the developer to construct the streets and to maintain them for a set period (normally 12 months). Following the satisfactory discharge of these obligations, the new streets are automatically dedicated as public highway and are maintainable at the public expense.

HiA 1980, s 38(6) gives the highway authority considerable discretion in setting the technical requirements for the new highway. The agreement may contain 'such provisions as to the dedication as a highway of any road or way to which the agreement relates, the bearing of the expenses of the construction, maintenance or improvement of any

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