Apply for a licence to place and retain apparatus in the highway

A section 50a licence is required to install apparatus in the highway that is not due to be adopted.

Who needs a licence

A section 50a licence is for the placing and retaining of apparatus in the highway, such as private networks including fibre optic cables, sewer, gas, water, electric or telecommunications connections.

The section 50a licence permits the holder to place or maintain (without excavation) apparatus on the public highway and will require the owner of the apparatus to hold ongoing £10m public liability insurance.

Excavations to install apparatus or to inspect, maintain, adjust, repair, alter, renew, or move the apparatus will require a section 50b licence. These works can only be carried out by a competent contractor.

The section 50b excavation licence can only be processed after the section 50a licence has been approved and signed.

Who can apply

The owner of the apparatus must apply. Once the licence is issued to the owner of the apparatus it stays with that property for the duration that it is in the ground. The licence may form part of the deeds associated with the property/land and as such should be transferred to new owners. We need to be informed of this change.

Conditions of licence

Section 50 & Schedule 3 of New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

Conditions of licence

  1. This licence permits the holder to place or maintain (without excavation) and retain apparatus described in this licence on the public highway in accordance with the relevant provisions of the New Roads and Street Works Act and associated Regulations and Codes of Practice and the further conditions of this licence. The applicant must comply with Schedule 3 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, the requirements for noticing, signing and guarding and for reinstatements and to the highway authority’s powers to inspect, direct any works and to charge for inspections or delays. The applicant is required to serve notices when programming any works, including initially placing the apparatus on the highway
  2. The applicant shall not carry out any excavation of the public highway, except in accordance with a further Street Works ‘temporary excavation’ licence [Section 50(b)], to be obtained from the highway authority. This includes excavation that may be required to initially place the apparatus in the public highway. An application for a licence to excavate the highway in order to place or maintain apparatus pertaining to this licence must be made at least 1 calendar month before works are scheduled to be undertaken
  3. The applicant is responsible for obtaining any other consent or licences as may be required for the intended works
  4. All works carried out on apparatus described in this licence shall be undertaken by operatives accredited for such work under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 Codes of Practice. Each time work is to be carried out on the apparatus, including the initial installation, the applicant shall provide proof that the operatives carrying out such works hold valid, relevant accreditation. Such proof should be included with the notification of the intended works
  5. Prior to initial installation and before each and every time maintenance of the apparatus is carried out, (that requires no excavation of the public highway), the applicant shall notify the highway authority of their intention to carry out such works. Notification shall be carried out fully in accordance with the relevant Codes of Practice and using the form attached. See Appendix 4
  6. a) Pursuant to paragraphs 5(1) and (2) of Schedule 3 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, where the Licensee ceases to use or otherwise parts with their interest in the apparatus, he shall give the Highway Authority not less than six weeks notice before doing so
    b) Where the Licensee under a street works license granted to the owner of land and any successors in title proposes to part with his interest in the land, he shall before doing so seek the express and specific permission of the Highway Authority to assign, stating his proposals as to whom the benefit of the license is to be transferred
  7. a) The Licensee shall indemnify the County Council pursuant to s82 New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and Paragraph 8 of Schedule 3 of the New Roads and Street Works Act, and in addition shall indemnify the County Council against all liability, loss, claim or proceeding whatsoever arising under statute or common law in respect of the placing, retaining, inspecting, maintaining, adjusting, repairing, altering, renewing or removing of its apparatus on or under the highway
    b) The Licensee shall hold public liability insurance in an amount not less than £10 million in respect of each and every occurrence or series of occurrences caused by or attributable to any event giving rise to a claim
    c) The Licensee shall hold such insurance cover as set out at 7(b) for the lifetime of the licence
  8. The apparatus shall be laid to such a position, depth and specification as described in the plans accompanying this licence or as directed by the highway authority
  9. The applicant shall not interfere with any drain, culvert, gully, bridge, wall or other highway structure without the express and specific consent of the highway authority
  10. The apparatus shall be maintained in a condition to the satisfaction of the highway authority. The highway authority may direct the applicant to carry out such works as may be required
  11. This licence shall remain in force for as long as the apparatus remains on the public highway or until it is withdrawn by the highway authority or terminated by the applicant giving written notice under the provisions of paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 3 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991
  12. a) Where a street works licence expires or is withdrawn or surrendered, the County Council may, upon not less than 7 days notice, remove the apparatus to which the licence relates or alter it in such manner as they think fit and reinstate the highway
    b) Where the County Council’s powers under clause 12(a) and Paragraph 7 Schedule 3 New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 are exercised, the current Licensee shall be liable for all expenses incurred by the County Council in doing so, and shall indemnify the County Council in respect of injury, damage or loss arising out of the execution by the County Council or the licensee of any works under clause 12(a)
  13. Where required, to initially place the apparatus, the highway authority shall serve notices to the Statutory Undertakers in accordance with the requirements of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 on behalf of the applicant. Such notices must be made at least twenty-five working days prior to the start of the works to place the apparatus. The applicant shall be responsible for arranging and carrying out any diversionary works required by a Statutory Undertaker in their response to a notice. The applicant shall allow for the notification process and any diversionary works required when programming their works
  14. Prior to the commencement of any works, the applicant shall determine the precise location of any Statutory Undertakers plant
  15. In the event of the licence not being granted by the highway authority, an administration fee will be charged to the applicant to cover administrative costs. In the event of this licence being revoked for failing to comply with the conditions of the licence then no refund will be made by the highway authority


  • The 'highway' includes 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 an appeal may be made to the Secretary of State
  • 'on the highway' means on, over or under the highway

The approval process

On receipt of your application, an engineer will visit the site to determine its suitability and, if excavation is required, the public utilities notified for any necessary alterations to their supply services. Any costs associated with works necessary to public utilities' supply service will be the responsibility of the licensee.

  • £430
  • per licence

You will receive an automated receipt when paying for this service. No VAT is charged as this is a non-business service and the VAT is classed as ‘out-of-scope’. However, should it be required for your records, Hampshire County Council’s VAT number is GB 189 4068 22.


If you're happy you understand the conditions and charges. 

Upon application you will be required to pay the fee. Please have your payment details ready before submitting your application.

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Highways Act 1980 and New Roads and Street Works Act - licences and consents

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