A section 278 agreement is a section of the Highways Act of 1980 which allows developers to enter into a legal agreement with the council, to enable them to make permanent alterations or improvements to a public highway.
Examples of work that would need a Section 278 include:
- New or changed access into a development site, for example creating a bell mouth, a signalised junction, or a right turn lane.
- New or changed crossings that have been moved due to access to the development site.
- Introducing traffic calming measures.
- Adding priority junctions.
- Adjusting pedestrian protection measures
If you need to complete any of these works to make your property development possible, you may be responsible for carrying out and paying for the works yourself. These works need to be completed to the satisfaction of the highway authority.
Furthermore, if you do need to carry out work, you may need to pay a bond to the highway authority. This is to cover the cost of works if the property developer does not complete this themselves, they could, for example, become insolvent.
Work to the road can only be carried out when both the following have happened:
- The Section 278 agreement is signed by the developer and the council.
- All requirements listed in the Section 278 agreement have been met and approved by the council.
You need to submit a Section 278 application early on in the design process, quite often at least 12 months before the works are due to start on site. Work can then usually start within four to six weeks of the agreement being signed. If possible, the council may try to tie in the work with existing works, or other Section 278 schemes in the nearby area.
If you start working, and amending the highway, without the necessary approval, the council are within their rights to take legal action against you.
If you need any assistance with the building of an approved Section 278 agreement, we are appointed as approved contractors for Highway England. Get in touch for more information.