Apply for a licence to dig up the road

If anyone other than a statutory authority wants to install apparatus within the highway, footway or verge, they need a Road Opening Licence

Who can apply

Permission to place, retain and maintain apparatus in the highway must be requested by the owner of the apparatus. A contractor will apply for permission to excavate the highway, often on behalf of the land or property owner. This is because it is the applicant who will be required to comply with and accept the licence conditions.

Licence(s) you will need

To apply please select one of the options below.


Section 171 - vehicle access, sewer connection (without pump), trial holes

Section 171 licence is for small excavations in the highway such as trial holes, domestic vehicular access or sewer connections into adopted sewer.

Yes Yes No No Vehicle access or highway alteration Sewer connection without pump Apply for a s171 licence Apply for a s171 licence with your vehicle crossing reference Do you have an approved vehicle crossing application? You must apply for a vehicle crossing first Do you want to build a vehicle crossing?
Section 50a - Sewer connection with pump, gas water, electric or telecomms

Section 50a licence is for the placing and retaining of apparatus in the highway such as private networks including fibre optic, telecommunications, rising or pumping mains, outlets from sewerage treatment units, power cables from solar farms.

Yes Yes Yes No No No Sewer connection with pump, gas water, electric or telecomms Apply for a s50a licence Apply for a s50b licence Is a section 50a licence already in place? Are you the person nominated to excavate and install? You must be either the owner or nominated person to apply An s50a licence must be in place before an s50b can be granted Are you the owner of the private service? (land or home owner)
Section 50b - Excavation to install, inspect or replace apparatus

Section 50b licence is for the excavation to install, inspect, maintain, adjust, repair, alter or renew the apparatus, change its position or move it.

Yes Yes Yes No No No Sewer connection with pump, gas water, electric or telecomms Apply for a s50a licence Apply for a s50b licence Is a section 50a licence already in place? Are you the person nominated to excavate and install? You must be either the owner or nominated person to apply An s50a licence must be in place before an s50b can be granted Are you the owner of the private service? (land or home owner)
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.