You are allowed to construct and maintain cellars and openings to cellars under a public highway. Many properties have existing cellars under the highway and unless specifically stated to the contrary, will remain the responsibility of the property to which they are attached.

Light and ventilation openings are the responsibility of the property owner or leasee to maintain as appropriate and where this involves working on the highway, a licence must be applied for.

If you wish to construct a cellar or a new opening into an existing cellar under the highway, you can apply for a licence but that must be accompanied with all appropriate construction drawings showing how the highway will be supported during and upon completion of works. The licence holder will also be responsible for the diversion of any statutory undertakers apparatus.  

The applicant must hold a current certificate demonstrating a competent knowledge of Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual and a minimum Public Liability Insurance of £5,000,000. It is the applicants responsibility to determine the appropriate level of cover.

Each licence is issued with standard conditions printed on the rear of the licence but we may add further special conditions.


Three types of application can be applied for:

  1. Major Works

    Where a licence period of between 10 and 28 days is required. These applications must be made 3 months in advance of the start date. Renewals of Major Works licences must be applied for giving 10 days notice and will be for a maximum of 28 days.
  2. Standard Works

    For a maximum licence period of 10 days. Applications or renewals made with less than 10 days notice will attract enhanced charges.
  3. Emergency Works

    For a maximum licence period of 10 days but enhanced charges will apply.

The owner of the items being deposited on the highway must apply for the licence and applications will not be considered until the appropriate fee has been paid.

  Download the application to execute work on/adjacent to a public highway

Alternatively you can apply to work on a public highway Opens in a new window via GOV.UK.


The cost of a licence depends on the amount of notice given and if a site visit is needed. 

  • £45.10 - Over 10 days notice given *
  • £90.20 - 10 days or less notice given *
  • £90.20 - Site visit required
  • £22.80 per licence per parking space occupied, where the skip uses on street Pay and Display parking spaces during chargeable times.

* Fees cover our administration and apply to applications for new licenses or renewals and are non refundable.


If you are concerned about the safety of any licensed activity on the public highway, please report this to us.

  Report a problem with works and activity on the highway