Apply for a decorative lights licence

What is it for

This licence grants permission to hang decorative lights on or over the public highway.

Who can apply

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

Before you apply

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

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 £5 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 lighting 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. If the lighting comprises of single items which do not span the highway then 3.5m is acceptable. Lights below 3m high must not exceed 25v SELV, safety extra low voltage must be used and any tree protected with barriers
  2. The lighting 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 lighting and the effect of and on all types of traffic that will pass under or nearby the lighting. 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 lighting shall be signed and guarded at all times, in accordance with the requirements described in the Safety at Street Works and Road Works Code of Practice "Red Book". 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 lighting 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 arising under the statute or common law which may arise from the placing or maintaining of lighting over the highway or its removal therefrom
  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 lighting or by the erection, removal or maintenance of the lighting and any such damage shall be repaired to the satisfaction of the Highway Authority at the expense of the applicant
  11. Any alterations to lighting shall cause the licence to be withdrawn unless the Highway Authority first agrees such alterations. Where such alterations are to be made the applicant 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 lighting will be attached or overhang. Where the lighting is attached to such property the applicant shall be responsible for any damage caused to property by the lighting whilst the lighting is present, including during erection maintenance and removal of the lighting
  14. No part of the lighting 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 licensed lighting shall not advertise any event product or business that is of a commercial nature except as follows: Any firm or association, or similar, paying for the lighting to be erected in a publicly maintainable precinct may incorporate their name or logo as part of the lighting provided that the wording or logo size and content are agreed with the local planning authority and the Highway Authority in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2001 or any amendment thereto or superseding legislation
  17. Hampshire Highway Authority, Street Lighting Policy Document 2001 Chapter 8, covers further, technical requirements for the erection of decorative lighting. The following is non-exhaustive and for the full details the applicant must refer to the Policy Document:
    (a) All apparatus shall be erected, maintained and removed in compliance with the following statutes and regulations:
    • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
    • Electricity-at-Work Regulations 1989
    • BS 7671 Regulations for Electrical Installation
    b) In addition to clause 17 (a):
    • An agreed set of inspection/emergency procedures is to be provided to the local highway management office
    • Each installation shall be tested and the electrical test certificates and test results passed to the highway management office on the day following installation to energising
    • A qualified structural engineer with professional indemnity must certify the installation
    • No installation shall be permitted where it may be in conflict with any adjacent traffic signal system
  18. The applicant shall:
    (a) Carry out an inspection of the lighting at least every week to satisfy themselves as to all aspects of its security and safety. The results of these inspections shall be documented and records held for 6.5 years. Nil returns are to be recorded in the same manner
    (b) Inform the Highway Authority, of the name, address and telephone number of an electrician who can be called out on a 24 hour a day basis to deal with emergencies. The costs incurred in any such emergencies shall be borne by the applicant. Such an electrician shall hold a City & Guilds approved qualification or its equivalent and be fully conversant with the requirements of all relevant standards


  • 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