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Excavation works on the highway

If you wish to carry out excavation work on the Highway you are required to obtain a licence under Section 171 of the Highways Act 1980.

A licence to excavate is granted if you wish to excavate the Highway but are not planning to create a vehicle crossing or install apparatus.

  • If you are planning to lay new apparatus or carry out repairs to existing apparatus you will require a Section 50 application.
  • If you are planning to create a new vehicle crossing or amend an existing crossing point you will require a Vehicle Crossing application.

A licence to excavate can be granted for the following works:

  • Relaying of existing highway surface
  • Installation of bus shelters
  • Installation of road signs

For some of the above works, planning permission may be required. Please contact our planning department on 0300 1234 151.

As the applicant it is recommended that you read our Guidance Notes before applying.

Your contractor: who should you choose?

You must nominate a company that holds

  • both the Streetworks Supervisor and Operative qualification
  • Public Liability Insurance with a minimum cover of £5 million.

Cost of the licence

The cost of a Licence to Excavate is £278

Please note that our licence fees are subject to review every April and licences submitted after April 1st will be subject to any new fees.

Apply for a licence to excavate

Download a licence to excavate application form

Please complete all sections fully and request that your accredited contractor completes their section.

A Licence to Excavate requires 4 weeks lead in time to process. However, if a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order is required; such as a road closure this will increase to 3 months.

Please submit your completed application form to

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