Road adoption

Road adoption is when we take responsibility for a road which was previously private.

As the highway authority, we are consulted on planning applications for developments which may affect the road network or include the construction of new roads.

A development can range from a domestic garage to a large housing estate or major supermarket.

As the highway authority, we may require the developer to fund highway improvement works for the proposals to be acceptable. Works must meet appropriate standards to allow adoption into the highway network.

The Manual for Streets and interim guidance

We are currently developing a new highways design guide to replace the current guidance. With the new Manual for Streets due to be published in the future, a number of sections of the guidance are currently suspended until this is released. However, we will be publishing sections of the guide that will not be affected by the upcoming manual that can be used as interim guidance.

Commuted sums

These are financial contributions made by third parties to us towards the future maintenance of the road or infrastructure to be adopted or transferred. These sums are usually secured through legal agreements made with developers and landowners. The aim of this guidance is to offer a transparent and consistent approach to commuted sums where we are adopting new highway infrastructure.

The guidance sets out the approach for where commuted sums are applied including understanding whole life costs to ensure undue burdens are not placed on maintenance budgets and taxpayers. It also defines standard assets that would not need to be considered for commuted sums and a list of examples of non-standard highways assets that would need to be considered for future liability so that developers are aware of costs.

Read our  interim guidance on commuted sums (pdf / 922 KB).


As part of our legal duty, we are responsible for the adoption of surface water drainage systems to ensure they effectively drain the highway. The aim of this guidance is to provide consistency for designing to current standards which developers must follow. Positive drainage systems should be provided for all roads to be offered for adoption as part of Section 38/Section 278 agreement and, where possible, discharging to a sustainable drainage systems where infiltration to the ground, large waterbody and/or controlled discharge into a system or watercourse can take place.

The new guidance moves away from design specifications to a modern approach to source control and performance specification and should be read in conjunction with our 2018 SuDs Design Guidance 2018 which you can find on our flood and water management page

Read our  interim guidance on drainage page (pdf / 2 MB).

Private street works

There are a large number of private streets in North Yorkshire. For information on how to make up these private streets and have them adopted, refer to the Private Street Works Code of The Highways Act 1980 page.

Dropped kerbs

A dropped kerb crossing - also known as a verge crossing, footway crossing, vehicular crossing, crossover or access - is required when you want to take a vehicle across the verge or footway to access your land. See the dropped kerbs page for more information.