Road adoption About road adoption Road adoption is a term used to describe the council taking responsibility for the maintenance of a street. A 'private street' is a road, which is not maintained at public expense. This means that the council, as the Highway Authority, is unlikely to carry out repairs or cleansing to the street, even though it could be a road to which highway and traffic law can be applied. New roads that have been constructed in accordance with council guidelines are normally adopted by way of an agreement between the developer and the council, under section 38 of the Highways 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, without kerbs, footways, gullies/highway drainage and lighting, resulting in its surface probably in a bad condition. A map showing the adopted highway is available on the highways & traffic search information page.