Birmingham City Council

What does highway usually consists of?

Under Construction

A highway consists of all vehicular and pedestrian thoroughfares that are available for public use. Where appropriate, and under normal circumstances, the council will consider the following for adoption on new roads for maintenance at public expense where they serve 4 or more properties:

  • Carriageways and footways adjacent or related to carriageways
  • Laybys, turning areas and unallocated on-street parking spaces
  • Service margins, strips or areas required by utility companies
  • Maintenance margins adjacent to carriageways and footways which are an integral part of the highway
  • Landscaped verges or areas, to be agreed on an individual basis
  • Footpaths and cycleways linking housing areas, or forming part of a major pedestrian/cycle network
  • Structures, i.e. retaining walls and embankments, which support the carriageway or any other adoptable area.
  • Street lighting
  • Road gullies, gully connections, manholes and highway drains including sustainable drainage systems in relation to the drainage of the highway

Please note – Visibility splays and areas needed to establish forward sight lines will not normally be considered for adoption. The council asks that the landowner/developer agree to a covenant which requires that:

  • The land is kept free of obstruction
  • Ensure no planting within the land exceeds 600 mm in height, is well maintained and does not interfere or obstruct the use of the public highway
  • Indemnifies the council against all claims resulting from the failure to maintain the land in accordance with the covenant

Adopted highways come into existence by means of a legal process and can only cease to be adopted highway by means of a legal process. Sometimes the adoption process can take a long time and while the road remains unadopted, it is the landowner or developer who is usually responsible for the maintenance of the highway within the development.