Section 278 Agreement

Depending on which Highway Authority is responsible for the roads that are affected a Section 278 Agreement will be required with either the ‘Secretary of State for Transport’ or the ‘Local Highway Authority’.

Agreements with the Secretary of State for Transport will be required if the works are on the strategic road network which lies under the control of the Highways Agency. Examples of routes on the strategic road network are Motorways, Trunk Roads and usually the high grade junctions leading to and from them.

Guidance on agreements with the Secretary of State for Transport under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 can be viewed by clicking here.

Highway improvement works on roads which are under the control of the Local Highway Authority, however, normally follow the following guidance and Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 is applicable where:

“A highway authority may, if they are satisfied it will be of benefit to the public, enter into an agreement with any person -

  • for the execution by the authority of any such works which the authority are or may be authorised to execute, or
  • for the execution by the authority of such works incorporating particular modifications, additions or features, or at a particular time or in a particular manner,

on terms that the person pays the whole or such part of the cost of the works as may be specified or determined in accordance with the agreement.”

Extract from Section 278 (1), of the Highways Act 1980, (as amended by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991).

The Section 278 Agreement is a legally binding document between the Local Highway Authority and the developer to ensure that the work to be carried out on the highway is completed to the standards and satisfaction of the Local Highway Authority.

The document is prepared by the Local Highway Authority's solicitor and issued to the developer’s solicitor in draft format. The details of the agreement are then agreed before the final document is completed and signed by both parties before the commencement of any work on site.

The agreement details what the requirements of both the Local Highway Authority and developer are to ensure that the proposed works are carried out in accordance with the approved drawings. It also details how the Local Highway Authority may act should the developer fail to complete the works.

Key elements which are likely to be included in a typical Section 278 Agreement may also include the following:

  • The relevant planning permission and authorisation under which the works are to be carried out
  • A schedule detailing the works to be done and shown on appropriate plans
  • The extent of the improvements and any land to be conveyed to the Local Highway Authority (dedicated land)
  • Details of a bond or surety
  • An agreement of who will design and/or project manage the new works. This can either be the Local Highway Authority or a consultant Highway Engineer working on behalf of the developer
  • Details of the full costs of the works to be paid by the developer and also the Local Highway Authority’s administrative, legal, design checks and inspection costs
  • Details of commuted sums for the future maintenance of the improvement works

The approach of each Local Highway Authority to the design and procurement of works under a Section 278 Agreement can vary considerably. The Local Highway Authority may insist that they carry out all aspects of the works and recharge the developer or allow the consultant Highway Engineer to carry out some or all of the works as the Authority’s appointed agent. It is therefore always recommended that the Highway Engineer discusses with the Local Highway Authority, as early as possible in the planning process of the development, if a Section 278 Agreement may be required and how the Local Highway Authority would require the developer to proceed if this is the case.

In the former case the Local Highway Authority will provide all the necessary design and construction drawings and produce the relevant documentation required to prepare the Section 278 Agreement. These plans and specifications will be submitted to the Local Planning Authority as the first stage in discharging the planning condition requiring the works as part of the development. The developer will be required to pay the Local Highway Authority for all fees and other associated payments for preparing the design and preparation of the Section 278 Agreement.

The developer will be required to provide information to the Local Highway Authority to assist in the preparation of the Section 278 Agreement, such as:

  • Name and Address of the developer's solicitor
  • Confirmation of the developers intention to use a Bond or Surety to cover the construction cost of the proposed works
  • Name and Address of the proposed contractor including references, insurances and certificates to work on the public highway. (However, if the Local Highway Authority is procuring the construction of the works they will tender the works using their approved contractors).

In the latter case the developer's Highway Engineer prepares the detailed design in accordance with the relevant design standards and submits them to the Local Highway Authority for technical approval, after which they are submitted to the Local Planning Authority in the first stage of discharging the planning condition.

The level of detail required for technical approval will depend on the scope and complexity of the scheme but detailed design drawings at 1:500/1:200 scale will generally be required and will normally include the following:

  • General Arrangement showing the extent of site works
  • Site Clearance detailing items to be removed
  • Fencing
  • Drainage layout showing existing and proposed, pipe runs, manhole and gully positions, pipe size, pipe gradients, pipe diameter, outfall details, backfill details, unique numbering of pipes/gullies and chambers and a full drainage schedule. Pipes intended to be adopted should be annotated
  • Earthworks showing details of embankment/cutting construction, verge treatments etc
  • Carriageway and footway construction details indicating areas of different types of construction, areas of planing/inlay/overlay and reconstruction. Evidence of adequacy of construction (cores of existing construction / pavement calculations), construction detail at interface of existing and new works, trench reinstatements etc
  • Kerbing, edging and channel details; different types to be shown, including areas of over-break and reinstatement of surrounding carriageway and footway construction etc
  • Traffic signs positions and road markings; including schedules of new traffic signs and road markings
  • Landscaping proposals
  • Road lighting, illuminated signs and illuminated street furniture positions
  • Electrical works; ducts, service chambers, underground cables, position of feeder pillars and schematic cable diagrams etc
  • Structures position and orientation
  • Services/statutory undertakers details showing existing and any proposed alterations/protection measures/diversions etc with estimated costs
  • Appropriate cross sections and longitudinal sections showing existing and proposed levels
  • Setting out drawing showing critical dimensions of the design that require technical approval
  • Standard construction details
  • Plans showing swept turning paths/vehicular movements of various sizes of vehicle around the vehicular routes of the proposed highway scheme
  • Accommodation works; details of alterations to fencing, accesses, driveways etc including details of consultations and agreement with landowner
  • Coloured plan showing full limits of Section 278 Agreement Works, inclusive of suitable working space and land to be dedicated for highway purposes
  • Layouts showing any easements or way-leaves required for future maintenance purposes
  • Temporary traffic management measures, road closures and diversion routes
  • Land transfer drawings and schedules

To enable the above to be provided a topographical survey of the area of the works will be required. The survey should be provided in 2D and 3D format with all relevant features surveyed. A good quality topographical survey of the development site is vital if the Highway Engineer is to produce an accurate design. A standard specification can be found by clicking here.

In addition to the above Road Safety Audits will be required at each appropriate stage of the design and post implementation.

Require Assistance with a Section 278 Agreement?

Sanderson Associates have extensive experience in dealing with Section 278 Agreements for a wide variety of major and minor developments throughout the whole of the UK, Isle of Man and Ireland.

We would be pleased to provide you with our competitive fee proposal to provide you with our services, please call us on 01924 844080 or click here to complete our secure online form.

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