Licences required for public events on or affecting a public highway

Traffic advice for street parties and other public events

Well managed and safe events can bring significant benefit to local communities.

As the Traffic Authority for Hampshire we aim to minimise disruption to traffic and residents and maximise traffic safety.

Hampshire County Council is the Traffic Authority for most roads in Hampshire. The exceptions are:

  • motorways and trunk roads (Highways Agency)
  • roads in Southampton (Southampton City Council)
  • roads in Portsmouth (Portsmouth City Council)
Types of events

Street parties and fetes:

  • usually for residents/neighbours only (less than 500 people)
  • only affect residents’ traffic. (No bus routes or through traffic affected)
  • diversionary routes will not be necessary for any road closures
  • publicity only to residents
  • no licences necessary if music incidental and no selling is involved
  • no liability insurance required for road closures
  • no formal risk assessment needed
  • self-organised

Major events:

  • anyone can attend (or a large, residents only, gathering)
  • affects through traffic (for example bus routes)
  • road closures are likely to need diversionary routes
  • it is publicised (for example in newspapers)
  • licences are needed (for fireworks display, entertainment, alcohol sales, food provided late at night)
  • liability insurance needed for road closures
  • risk assessment and event/traffic plan usually required
  • usually arranged by professional/skilled organisers
Who to inform

Let your local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) know about your plans. SAGs are usually co-ordinated by the district or borough council. Rather than event organisers speaking to many different organisations they will act as a single point of contact and will distribute event details to the various interested organisations on your behalf.

Organisers of cycle races and time trials are legally required to alert the police.

Conditions of consent

  1. Flower baskets may be mounted on street lighting columns provided they do not cause undue obstruction and interference with users of the highway and are at least 2.3m clear of the highest point of the public highway (including a publicly maintainable precinct or similar) or 2.3m clear of the highest point of a footway or similar. The basket must have at least 0.5m horizontal clearance of the main carriageway at all times
  2. The baskets must be designed, erected and maintained with due regard to a comprehensive written risk assessment. Such risk assessment must take particular account of the erection, maintenance and removal of the baskets and the effect of, and on, all types of traffic that will pass under or nearby. A copy of the risk assessment may be required by the Highway Authority prior to the granting the consent and may require it to be updated at any point during the term of the consent.
  3. The erection, removal and maintenance of any baskets must 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 details of the construction, signing and guarding proposals prior to the approval of the consent
  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 baskets and their contents do not cause a danger or nuisance to the public
  6. Except where agreed as part of this consent 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 consent 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 consent.
  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, maintenance of baskets over the highway, or the removal therefrom
  9. The applicant shall hold public liability insurance for the duration of the consent 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 baskets or by the erection, removal or maintenance of them and any such damage must be repaired to the satisfaction of the Highway Authority at the expense of the applicant
  11. Any alterations to baskets will cause the consent to be withdrawn unless the Highway Authority first agrees such alterations. Where such alterations are to be made the consent holder must seek the consent of the Highway Authority in writing giving full details of the alterations proposed
  12. Nothing in this consent 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 the property owners where baskets overhang or are supported by private property
  14. Nothing in this consent absolves the applicant from obtaining Planning Permission where such is required
  15. The applicant must obtain the necessary consent from its Local Planning Authority for any form of advertisement that is displayed on the basket(s). The baskets must 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 baskets to be erected in a publicly maintainable precinct may incorporate their name or logo as part of the display.
  16. Hampshire Highway Authority, Street Lighting Maintenance Management plan, page 54 covers further, technical requirements for the erection of flower baskets. The following is a brief guide, but for the full details please refer to the plan
    (a) 17(a) and 17(b) shall be submitted before any works start on site
    (b) The prospective applicant may be asked to provide the Highway Authority with a qualified structural engineers report at the expense of the applicant prior to the consent being granted to certify that the column to which the basket is attached is structurally strong enough to support its own weight and the loading of any wind or precipitation together with the overall attachments proposed for each column
    (c) If attached to a lamp column, the applicant must ensure that all painted or plastic coated surfaces are protected against damage by the means of attaching the basket(s)/basket supports to the column
    (d) If attached to a lamp column, the applicant must remove all baskets and their supporting brackets and make good any damage to the column at the end of the consent period
  17. The applicant shall:
    (a) Carry out an inspection of the baskets at least every week to satisfy themselves as to all aspects of its security and safety. The results of these inspections must 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 a person 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 a person must be fully conversant with the requirements of all relevant standards
    (c) Ensure that the basket does not obscure the unit maintenance number or prevent the unit being maintained in any way
  18. Either party may terminate this agreement by serving no less than 1 months notice (or shorter period if agreed) in writing on the other. On the expiry of that notice the applicant shall remove the baskets and re-instate the highway to the Highway Authority’s satisfaction.
  19. Without prejudice to para 18 and without affecting any other right or remedy available to it, the Highway Authority may terminate this agreement with immediate effect by giving notice to the applicant if the applicant commits a material breach of any term of this agreement or the breach results in a danger or nuisance to the highway and the breach is not repairable or (if such breach is repairable) the applicant fails to repair that breach within a period of 30 days after being notified in writing to do so.



  • 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 consent then he may appeal to the magistrates’ court

Using other contractors

You can get a quote from another contractor and nominate them to carry out any signing work. Contractors must be approved by the County Council.

All work must follow:

  • health and safety regulations
  • British and European Standards
  • codes of practice

Work must meet any extra requirements of the Director of Economy, Transport & Environment, or Highways England.

Supervision and maintenance fees still apply if you arrange signing independently. There is also a fee for a traffic management audit of 5% or a minimum £25.

If the County Council or its contractors carry out the work VAT is not applicable.

Road closures

If two or more events are held at the same time in a local area they can cause traffic problems so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and check in advance.

You need a road closure order even if the road will be closed for just a few minutes. A temporary closure means that all vehicles are kept out – but the road is open to pedestrians.

Road closures are handled by your district or borough councils. There may be a nominal charge to cover administration and legal costs.

Bunting, banners and decorative flags

We are legally obliged to manage anything hanging over the road for the purposes of safety.

For small scale events, like street parties, the requirement for public liability insurance has been waived and there is no charge for processing the licence.

Please let us know your plans