Apply for a section 171 licence to excavate or place materials on the highway

Excavating or placing traffic management on the highway

A contractor needs to apply for a section 171 licence to excavate the highway, or an area adjacent to the highway.

A licence for excavation costs £311. The fee is non-refundable. You should apply at least ten days before the proposed start date of the works. It is an offence, under section 171 of the Highways Act 1980, to excavate the highway before the permitted date.

Before making an application, you must:

  • make yourself familiar with the terms and conditions for this licence. We will charge £75 if we find you in breach of these terms and conditions.
  • contact utility companies to see if they have apparatus in the area which would be affected by your works. We do not need to know the outcome of these enquiries.

You also need to plan a method for traffic management. For example:

  • Give and take
  • Stop and go boards
  • Temporary traffic signals
  • Road closure or restriction, including footway

If you plan to close or restrict a road, you also need to apply for a temporary traffic regulation order or restriction notice. You need to apply at least 12 weeks before the proposed start date of the works.

What you’ll need

While making an application for excavation, you will need to:

  • provide a Street Works Qualification Register (SWQR) supervisory card number
  • upload a copy of your public liability insurance certificate for at least £5 million

E-mail if there are changes to the works. For example, if the start date of the works changes or if remedial work is needed.

You must register the work when it is completed.

Apply for a section 171 licence to excavate the highway

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