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What is an s278 agreement?

A section 278 agreement (or s278) is a section of the Highways Act 1980 that allows developers to enter into a legal agreement with the council (in our capacity as the Highway Authority) to make permanent alterations or improvements to a public highway, as part of a planning approval.

Examples of work covered by an s278 include:

  • new or changed access into a development site (i.e. a bell mouth, roundabout, signalised junction, right turn lane or a simple priority junction)
  • New/alteration of signalised crossings or junctions close to the development site.

Work affecting the highway can only begin when both the following have happened:

  • s278 agreement is signed by the developer and the council (with performance bond agreed)
  • all pre-commencement requirements listed in the s278 agreement have been met and approved by the council.

If you start work without the necessary approval, we reserve the right to take legal action against you. The grant of technical approval is not permission to commence works.

In Birmingham, we normally use s278 agreements to allow developers to employ a road works 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 works. The developer is responsible for all aspects of the works on the public highway, from the design through to supervising construction and ensuring that the works are completed to our satisfaction.

For cases where a highway scheme requires developers to offer up land within their control for adoption as a public highway, please see section 38 agreements.

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