Road adoption

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 to top right.

Contact information

Highway Asset Management

Brunel House

St George's Road

Bristol, BS1 5UY

Opening Hours


Tel: 0117 922 2100