Apply for a licence to place cables over the highway

Licence to erect or hang cables on the public highway

What is it for

This licence grants permission to erect or hang cables over the public highway.

Who can apply

Anyone can apply, but you will be asked to provide proof of holding public liability insurance.

Before you apply

The precise location where the cable is to be erected/hung must be stated. Alternatively, the applicant can supply a plan which clearly identifies the location where the cable is to be erected/hung.

The licence will only be granted to the individual or firm making the application. It cannot be transferred to any other person or firm.

The applicant shall include proof of holding at least £10 million public liability insurance with the application.

The applicant may be required to provide details of any risk assessment or any signing and guarding that may be required prior to the approval of the licence.

Conditions of licence

Made under Section 178 of the Highways Act 1980

  1. The cable shall be placed so as to avoid undue obstruction and interference with users of the highway and at least 5.2m clear of the highest point of the public highway (including a publicly maintainable precinct, or similar) or 3.5m clear of the highest point of a footway or similar
  2. The cable shall be designed and erected and maintained with due regard to a comprehensive risk assessment. Such risk assessment shall take particular account of the erection, maintenance and removal of the cable and the effect of and on all types of traffic that will pass under or nearby the cable. Proof of compliance with such may be required by the Highway Authority prior to granting the licence and at any point in the duration of the licence
  3. The erection, removal and maintenance of any cable shall be signed and guarded at all times, in accordance with the requirements described in Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual. The Highway Authority may require signing and guarding proposals prior to the approval of the licence
  4. No part of the highway shall be excavated without obtaining the prior express and specific permission of the Highway Authority
  5. The applicant shall ensure that the cable does not cause a danger or nuisance to the public
  6. Except where agreed as part of this licence no part of the highway may be closed at any time without the express and specific consent of the Highway Authority
  7. Any request for an extension to the period for which the licence has been granted must be made by submitting a further application to the Highway Authority at least 48 hours (excluding Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holidays) prior to the expiry of the existing licence
  8. The applicant shall indemnify the Highway Authority against all liability, loss, claim or proceeding whatsoever under the statute or common law, which may arise from the placing, maintenance or removal of the cable over the highway
  9. The applicant shall hold public liability insurance for the duration of the licence in an amount not less than £5 million in respect of each and every occurrence or series of occurrences caused by or attributable to any event giving rise to a claim
  10. The applicant shall accept liability for any damage caused to the highway or street furniture by the cable or by the erection, removal or maintenance of the cable and any such damage shall be repaired to the satisfaction of the Highway Authority at the expense of the licence holder
  11. Any alterations to cables shall cause the licence to be withdrawn unless the Highway Authority first agrees such alterations. Where such alterations are to be made the licence holder shall seek the consent of the Highway Authority in writing giving full details of the alterations proposed
  12. Nothing in this licence permits the applicant to interfere with or prevent or restrict access to apparatus owned, used or maintained by Statutory Undertakers
  13. It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain the necessary permission from any property owners to which the cable will be attached or overhang. Where the cable is attached to such property the applicant shall be responsible for any damage caused to property by the cable whilst it is present, including during erection and removal of the cable
  14. No part of the cable shall be attached to any street furniture or lighting column without separate written express and specific permission from the Highway Authority. Where such permission is granted the applicant shall comply with all conditions attached to the permission
  15. Nothing in this licence absolves the applicant from obtaining Planning Permission where such is required
  16. The Highway Authority may require the applicant to obtain and provide a qualified structural engineers report, at their own expense to certify that the fixture to which the cable is attached is structurally strong enough to support its own weight and the loading of any wind or precipitation


  • The ‘highway’ can include the carriageway, footway and any verge
  • If the applicant objects to these conditions or a refusal by the Highway Authority to approve a licence then he may appeal to the magistrates’ court


There is no charge for this licence.


If you're happy you understand the conditions and charges