You must apply for a licence from us to carry out excavations in, on or over the public highway such as:

  • rebuilding structures adjacent to the public highway
  • damp proofing property
  • installation/maintenance of cellar lights

To excavate on the public carriageway or footway without first applying for and being granted a license is an offence and may result in a prosecution. 

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. You will also be responsible where the excavations are likely to involve the Public Undertakers services (cables, wires, pipes, etc.) to give them three days notice of your intentions. 

Location plans of Statutory Undertakers apparatus must be on site prior to occupation of the highway. In the event of any damage caused to such services during the course of your work the owners should be informed immediately.

The licence holder must give a two year guarantee of any reinstatement of the highway. 


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.

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

You may also need to apply for a Road Closure or permission to use Temporary Traffic Lights.

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. 

  • £47.95 - Over 10 days notice given
  • £95.90 - 10 days or less notice given
  • £95.90 - Site visit required
  • £24.50 - Charge for loss of revenue where the operation obstructs an on-street parking bay administered by the Council

Terms and conditions of the application are provided on the application form.


Any complaints about the location or safety of an excavation should be reported instantly and one of our inspectors will go to the site to assess the safety and this will be dealt with accordingly.

  Report a problem with works and activity on the highway