Section 38 Agreements

Section 38 Agreements: Understanding the Importance of Road Adoption

When it comes to the development and construction of new housing schemes or commercial projects, the creation of roads is an essential component. However, there are many different stages involved in the process of creating a new road, and one of the most crucial steps is the adoption of the road by the relevant local authority. This is where Section 38 agreements come into play.

What is a Section 38 Agreement?

In the United Kingdom, a Section 38 agreement refers to a legal agreement between a developer and a local authority that governs the construction of new roads. Under this agreement, the developer is responsible for constructing the road to the council`s requirements and standards, and the local authority will then adopt the road and become responsible for its maintenance and repair.

Why are Section 38 Agreements Important?

Section 38 agreements are essential for several reasons:

1. Legal Protection: Section 38 agreements provide legal protection for both developers and local authorities. The agreement outlines the responsibilities and obligations of each party and ensures that both parties comply with the agreed-upon terms.

2. Consistency: Section 38 agreements ensure that new roads are constructed to a consistent standard, which helps to maintain the safety and accessibility of the road network.

3. Public Safety: Adopted roads are maintained and repaired by local authorities, which ensures that they are safe for public use.

4. Investment: The adoption of roads by local authorities is vital for the economic growth of the local area. Investors are more likely to invest in areas where there is a good road network, which in turn creates jobs and boosts the local economy.

What are the Key Components of a Section 38 Agreement?

The key components of a Section 38 agreement include:

1. The specification for the construction of the road, including the type of materials to be used, the width of the road, and the layout of any junctions or roundabouts.

2. The timeline for completion, which is typically within 12 months of the agreement being signed.

3. The arrangements for inspection, testing, and certification of the completed road.

4. The amount of money that the developer must provide as security to ensure that the road is constructed to the required standards.


In summary, Section 38 agreements are essential for the construction and adoption of new roads. They provide legal protection for both developers and local authorities, ensure consistency in road construction, and promote public safety and economic growth. Any developer looking to construct a new road should ensure that they have a Section 38 agreement in place before starting work.