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How much does a Section 278 agreement cost?

Our answer is based the Link team’s collective experience, which includes the design, technical approval and implementation of hundreds of Section 278 agreements across the UK over the past 15 years. Where we have outlined costs, they are estimated and subject to variance based on site specific constraints.

Our simple answer is: it depends on the site specific access requirements, opportunities and constraints which we have set out below. All costs associated with the design and implementation of a Section 278 (S278) scheme are to be met by developers, so it is really important to understand them and make an appropriate allowance.

Let’s firstly consider: what is a S278 agreement? Under the Highways Act 1980, S278, any person is allowed to enter into a legal agreement with the council (Local Highway Authority (LHA)) to make permanent alterations or improvements to a public highway, associated with a planning consent. This usually includes the works required to access a proposed development.

Whilst some S278 costs are fixed, the requirement of the planning consent may require a developer to enter into a Section 278 agreement for a wide variety of access junction arrangements and there are several cost elements which may or may not be applicable. As such, we’ve outlined below some indicative costs based on the percentages of a construction cost estimate for three of the most common access forms:

Cost elementBellmouth /simple T junctionTraffic signalised junction (four way)Roundabout (normal four arm)
Pre-Planning - Transport Assessment (Fixed)£4,800£9,600£9,600
Pre-Planning - Topographical Survey (Fixed)£3,000£6,000£6,000
Pre-Planning - Highway Boundary (Fixed)£200£400£400
Construction Cost Estimate (including Prelims, OH & profits)£72,000£720,000£1,200,000
Link Design Fee (Lump Sum)£5,750 (8%)£18,000 (2.5%)£30,000 (2.5%)
LHA review and inspection fee (8 - 12%)£7,200 (10%)£72,000 (10%)£120,000 (10%)
Stage 2 & 3 Road Safety Audits (Fixed)£4,000£4,000£4,000
LHA S278 legal fees£3,000£3,000£3,000
Performance Bond premiums (Cash surety or Bond) (110%)£3,600 (5%)£36,000 (5%)£36,000 (5%)
Traffic Regulation Order (Fixed - £3,000 per order, see 3 below)---
Commuted Sums (see 4 below)---
Utilities Diversion Assessment (see 5 below)£1,075 per utility£1,075 per utility£1,075 per utility
Utilities diversion estimate (see 5 below)---
S278 Cost£103,560 ~ £105,000£866,000 ~ £875,000£1,370,00 ~ £1.4m

Note, where a cost element may or may not be required depending on the site, we have highlighted the likely cost within the table notes below, but not included it in the table above.

  • Percentages applied are typical and will vary geographically. Also, commonly an initial upfront fee of £3,000-£5,000 is required by the LHA prior to starting to review technical submissions.
  • Fixed fees are estimates and are subject to further confirmation.
  • Traffic Regulation Orders are the legal enforcement orders that regulate driver behaviour by law. These are not always required.
  • Commuted sums are financial contributions made by the developer to the LHA as compensation for taking on the future maintenance responsibility for newly created highways or highway improvements. This covers all elements of highway for maintenance, with additional commuted sums attracted to non-standard elements such as traffic signals, extended pavement and street lighting. For these elements, generally commuted sums seek to replace these assets in full every 40 years during the lifetime of the road (120 years).
  • Utilities diversion costs have the biggest potential for cost variation. Link recommends that as part of any design (pre and post planning) C2 and / or C3 utility diversion estimates are obtained from the affected utility companies to accurately define the cost of potential diversions. Link can obtain C3 quotes for £1,075 per affected utility.
  • Geotechnical reporting of the access works area has been considered to be included as part of a development wider Site Investigation requirements and reporting.
  • The above costs exclude any land purchase costs.

For all enquiries on Section 278s please contact Robert Gill by emailing:

This data was last refreshed on 28/07/2023.