Section 50 and 171 licence

If you'd like to carry out street works on the public highway, you must be in possession of a Section 50 licence or a Section 171 licence.

Works covered by a Section 50 licence under the New Road and Street Works Act 1991 include:

  • breaking open, boring or tunnelling under any street
  • placing or adjusting apparatus under any street
  • repairing, altering or renewing any apparatus under any street

The licence will allow the placing and/or the retention of the apparatus in the street and thereafter the rights to adjust, repair, alter or renew it. You must obey all conditions laid down by the Act and its associated codes of practice. The apparatus must be kept in good condition and must also comply with any safety conditions we impose.

To carry out excavation in the public highway without installing apparatus, you'll need a Section 171 licence.

Applying for a licence

You can apply for a licence by downloading one of our application forms:

We advise you to read the guidance notes attached to the form before applying.

Applications should be sent to


A licence costs: 

  • Section 50 - £738.80 per application (£5000 refundable deposit)
  • Section 171 - £738.80 per application (£500 refundable deposit per excavation)

Check the full list of Highways licensing fees and charges. If you cancel a licence there is a Cancellation Fee, which is 30% of the licence fee.


The licence holder must ensure that:

  • all works are supervised and completed by New Road and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) accredited operatives
  • they're responsible for every aspect of the works

If you have any queries or concerns or require further information, contact us.

Page last updated: 09 April 2024


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