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ADEPT was developed in 2008/9 and formally established in 2010. The organisation has brought together directors from upper tier authorities – originally it began as the County Surveyors’ Society.

Below is the Association’s chronological history from its beginnings in 1885 until the present day.

  • 1885 The first meeting of the County Surveyors’ Society was held on 19 November 1885 to discuss the conditions of service of surveyors.
  • 1890 CSS was increasingly involved with issues such as the rolling and watering of carriageways and repairs to footways.
  • 1909 The CSS was now mainly concerned with grants to highway authorities to construct and maintain roads. The Development and Roads Improvement Act of 1909 created a Roads Board which, subject to Treasury approval, had powers to issue such grants.  
  • 1919 The Ministry of Transport was founded and with it, came links with the Society.
  • 1920s Additional funds were made available for unemployed relief schemes, and routes such as the Great West Road were built.
  • 1930s The road network expanded and, in 1936, the first trunk roads were designated. For the first time, the Government was proposing to be a Highway Authority in its own right.
  • 1931 A Society of County Surveyors for Scotland was first formed.
  • 1937 It was agreed that the CSS for Scotland should its their English and Welsh counterparts. A Society delegation visited Germany and subsequently set out proposals in 1938 for a national motorway network.  
  • 1955 This marked the end of the lean years of highway funding with the beginning of ‘the motorway era'.
  • 1964 The Buchanan Report was published and the CSS became increasingly involved in transportation studies, traffic management and road safety, in addition to the existing work on road maintenance and new road construction.
  • 1970s Start of the greatest road building programme since the days of the turnpikes and a major change in the structure of local authorities. The Society was accepted as a principal channel for initiatives and advice.
  • 1974 Reorganisation of Local Government added waste disposal to County Surveyors’ responsibilities. Surveyors of the counties in Northern Ireland became part of the Department of the Environment.
  • 1992 A Northern Ireland branch was formed, which became part of the main Society.

CSS was at the forefront of guiding local authorities' implementation of compulsory competitive tendering and changes to the waste disposal function. This involved transferring regulatory activities to the Environment Agency and the ‘privatisation’ of waste disposal operations.

  • 1996-1997 A major initiative by CSS to influence Government on the neglected condition of the highway network following years of declining investment. Subsequently, Government substantially increased highway maintenance funding to local authorities through the Local Transport Plan process.
  • 1999-2000 CSS undertook a leading role with the DfT and the Association of Chief Police Officers developing speed camera partnerships and developing the foundations of de-criminalised parking enforcement.

By this time, CSS members were facing growing problems of congestion and maintaining public transport in rural areas. The debate over road pricing was gathering strength. The planning process was assisted by the emergence of Local Transport Plans.

  • 2001 Following adverse weather and significant flooding events (particularly in Kent and East Sussex), CSS gathered information and expertise to successfully lobby Government to release additional funding to deal with the resulting emergency response and subsequent repairs.
  • 2002-2004 A major initiative by CSS was to influence Government thinking on reform of the planning system and a major programme was undertaken by CSS to identify and demonstrate the future costs of waste management. The society was also very active in identifying the neglected condition of street lighting across the country.
  • 2005 CSS undertook a leading role in developing guidance to local authorities on asset management planning for transport infrastructure.
  • 2010 Formally constituted in 2010, CSS changed its name to the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) to reflect the expanding portfolios of Directors whose remits include economic development, transport and communications, planning and housing, and the environment.
  • 2015 – ADEPT opened membership to Local Enterprise Partnerships.
  • 2016 – Following the AGM in June, membership was opened to Corporate Partners.
  • 2017 – ADEPT opened membership to Sub-national Transport Bodies and Combined Authorities.

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