Apply for a licence to excavate the highway

Anyone other than a statutory undertaker planning to undertake works which will involve excavating the public highway must first apply for the relevant Road Opening Licence. The public Highway includes the carriageway, footway, cycletracks, verges, bridleways and footpaths.

Licence(s) you will need

To apply please select one of the options below.


Section 171 - vehicle access, installation of private apparatus due to be adopted. Any other Highway works involving excavation

Section 171 licence is for small excavations in the highway such as trial holes, domestic vehicular access or the installation of private apparatus due to be adopted by a statutory undertaker.

Apparatus is:

  • a piece of equipment used for a particular purpose, for example water pipes, cables and sewer pipes
  • any piece of equipment used to lodge another piece of apparatus, such as a duct laid for a cable
  • a piece of equipment placed to gain access to another piece of apparatus, for example a manhole or inspection chamber

Works for a dropped kerb (vehicle crossing):

For works involving an existing or new dropped kerb a separate licence must already be in place. The home/ land owner must hold approval from Hampshire County Council before any works can be undertaken. 
A company or contractor will apply for permission to excavate the highway, often on behalf of a land or property owner. This is because it is the applicant who will be required to comply with and accept the licence conditions.

Section 50a - to place and retain private apparatus not due to be adopted

A Section 50a licence is for the placing and retaining of private apparatus in the highway. This licence does not cover any excavation that may be required.

Excavations for works involving private apparatus

Any excavations for works involving private apparatus fall under Section 50 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

These include:

  • installing any new private apparatus
  • works to any existing private apparatus

Apparatus is:

  • a piece of equipment used for a particular purpose, for example water pipes, cables and sewer pipes
  • any piece of equipment used to lodge another piece of apparatus, such as a duct laid for a cable
  • a piece of equipment placed to gain access to another piece of apparatus, for example a manhole or inspection chamber

Section 50b - to install/inspect/replace apparatus not due to be adopted

A Section 50b licence is for the excavation to install new private apparatus or to inspect, maintain, adjust, repair, alter or renew the existing private apparatus.

Excavations for works involving private apparatus

Any excavations for works involving private apparatus fall under Section 50 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

These include:

  • installing any new private apparatus
  • works to any existing private apparatus

Apparatus is:

  • a piece of equipment used for a particular purpose, for example water pipes, cables and sewer pipes
  • any piece of equipment used to lodge another piece of apparatus, such as a duct laid for a cable
  • a piece of equipment placed to gain access to another piece of apparatus, for example a manhole or inspection chamber

Section 278 - bellmouths, moving of street furniture, gullies or larger schemes

Section 278 licence or a section 278 agreement is for bellmouths, moving of street furniture, gullies or larger schemes.

For further guidance please see our Information for Developers.

Timescales

Be advised, due to the nature of this type of licence, applications can take up to 28 days to process.