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Work on Public Highways (Section 278 Agreement)

A Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 agreement can be used to licence a developer to carry out improvement works on public highway which are generally necessary where planning permission has been granted for a development.

image of traffic cones

It is Council policy to apply this method of amending of existing highways. A Section 278 Agreement (Highways Act 1980) allows developers to enter into a legal agreement with the Council to make alterations or improvements to the public highway. Examples of work covered by this type of agreement include new access into a development site i.e. a roundabout, signalised junction, right turn lane or a simple priority junction. A Section 278 Agreement may also be required for works such as a new signalised pedestrian crossing or improvements to existing junctions close to the development site.

In Birmingham, we normally use this section of the Highways Act to allow the developer, to employ a contractor and for that contractor to work on the existing public highway in the same way as if we, the highway authority, were carrying out the works instead. The developer is normally responsible for all aspects of the works on the public highway, from the design through to supervising construction and ensuring that the works are fully and finally completed to our satisfaction.

At planning application stage the principles of the development layout are established such as the type of junction that will provide access onto the highway network, the scope of any off site works required to mitigate the impact of the development and the internal road layout of the development. Once a site has planning permission we can not fundamentally amend the approved layout and we can not refuse to enter into an agreement for the developer to undertake highway works required to facilitate their development provided that all appropriate design and safety standards are met. Where a developer is required to undertake highway works in association with their development the planning permission will require them to enter into a highway agreement to carry out the works.

Where highway schemes require developers to offer up land within their control for adoption as public highway the agreement would be combined with an agreement under Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

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