What is an adopted road?

An adopted road is a road that is maintained at public expense. Road adoption is a term used to describe the council taking ownership of a 'private street'.

What is a private road?

A 'private street' is a road, which is not maintained at public expense. This means that  we as a highway authority, are under no obligation to carry out repairs or cleansing to the street.  Even though it could be a public right of way to which highway and traffic law can be applied.

How does a road become adopted?

New roads that have been constructed in line with our guidelines are normally adopted by an agreement between the developer and us under section 38 of the Highway Act 1980. Existing roads will not normally be adopted unless they are brought up to current standards by the owners of the road.  It may for example:

  • be unpaved
  • be without kerbs, footways, surface water sewers, gullies and lighting or any of these features, and
  • its surface is probably in a bad condition.

Under the provisions of Sections 205 to 228 of the Highways Act 1980 we may decide to raise the standard of a private street by providing:

  • any or all of the missing features or
  • by improving the standard of any existing features at the expense of the owner.

This procedure allows us on completion of necessary works to adopt the street as a highway maintainable at public expense.

Further information

To request a road adoption or for further information contact us using details below. We don't charge for basic enquiries.

You can check who's responsible for maintaining a street at FindMyStreet, but this doesn't include the width of a highway across the whole network and may not be accurate for conveyance purposes.

For official enquiries or letters relating to property, land and the highway from solicitors or search agents we charge a rate of £50 per hour.  We don't make a profit on charges, in line with other local authorities.

We'll contact you to advise you of any fee payable, and with details of how to pay.

Your consent for us to continue holding your contact details

Personal or business contact details you provide for Road Adoption queries or applications will be used by Bristol City Council for correspondence between Bristol City Council and yourself to help us administer your case.
By providing us with your contact details you consent to your information being used for this purpose.

Contact information

Highway Asset Management (100TS)

Bristol City Council
PO Box 3399
Bristol BS1 9NE

Email: customer.services@bristol.gov.uk
Tel: 0117 922 2100