Planning Geek

Section 278 Agreement


Section 278A section 278 agreement (or s278) is a section of the Highways Act 1980 that allows developers to enter into a legal agreement with the local authority to make permanent alterations or improvements to a public highway, as part of a planning approval.

Examples of work covered by a Section 278 (s278) include:

  • New or changed access into a development site.
  • Roundabouts.
  • Priority junctions.
  • Junctions with traffic lights.
  • Right turn lanes.
  • Improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Improvements to existing junctions.
  • Traffic calming measures.
  • New/alteration of signalised crossings or junctions close to the development site.

Work affecting the highway can only begin when some or all of the following items have happened:

  • Section 278 (s278) agreement is signed by the developer and the local authority.
  • The agreed design as per the planning permission.
  • Details of any bond or surety required.
  • Details of who will design and manage the works. Usually either the local Highway Authority or a consultant Highway Engineer working on behalf of the developer.
  • Detailed schedule of the works.
  • Provision for inspection and certification of the works.
  • Schedule of the costs of the works to be paid for by the developer, together with the administrative, design and inspection costs payable.
  • Details of commuted sums for future maintenance.

The developer is usually responsible for the costs involved in making the changes whether the works are carried out by a contractor appointed by the developer or the local authority itself.

A Section 278 (s278) is often entered into in conjunction with a Section 38 for the adoption of roads along with associated infrastructure.


Page Updated: 21st November 2020


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