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Road opening licence

Do I need a licence to open the public highway?

A private company wishing to open the public highway must have the appropriate licence from us, in the name of the contractor carrying out the improvement work or the owner of the apparatus being installed. Anyone excavating or working on the highway must have accreditation under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) for the work they are carrying out.

What type of licence do I need?

There are two types of licence we can grant for the opening the public highway:

Section 50 Licence – This is a licence granted under Section 50 of NRSWA and is needed when a person or organisation wishes to place new apparatus under publicly maintained highway, which includes verge, footway and carriageway.

Section 184 Licence – This is needed when a person or organisation wishes to makes changes or improvements to the highways, which include verge, footway and carriageway.

What are the terms and conditions?

Please read the terms and conditions within the online application form, which must be agreed to before submitting the application.

How do I apply for a licence?

Section 50 Road Opening Licence online application form

Section 184 Road Opening Licence online application form

We need at least 30 days notice between the date we receive your completed application and the date you wish to start work. This gives us time to carry out the necessary checks to ensure the dates requested are suitable. We cannot guarantee to process any applications with shorter notice periods.

If you require a temporary road closure, we require that you submit the relevant closure application eight weeks in advance and reference this on your application. We will not be able to process your request without this.

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How much does the licence cost?

Licence fee (Section 184 and Section 50) £145
Inspection charges (Section 184 and Section 50) £162 (three inspections at £54 each)
Deposit (Section 184 and Section 50)
  • Less than 10m2: £865
  • 10.1m2 – 15m2: £1,585
  • 15.1m2 – 20m2: £2,207
  • 20.1m2 – 25m2: £2,871
  • Greater than 25.1m2: Determined locally

If a defect is found at stages 2 or 3, each additional inspection carried out to check a satisfactory repair will be charged at £54 each (to the maximum of £162). The guarantee period will re-commence from the date of the satisfactory completion of the defect.

Work cannot be carried out at night, weekends or bank holidays unless the licensee is prepared to pay additional (overtime) costs.

We must receive the works closed notification within 10 days of completion of the works. The deposit will be held for two years from the end date on the completion notice and will be returned subject to the final inspection being passed.

What documentation and information is required?

All applications must be accompanied by the following:

  • A clear plan showing location of works and engineering layout.
  • Planning permission granted from the appropriate district or borough council, where necessary.
  • Excavation or construction details, including the expected size of the excavation (length, width and depth).
  • Traffic management details. Please see examples for format and details
  • Public liability insurance details for a minimum value of £5 million.
  • NRSWA accreditation for supervisor.
  • NRSWA accreditation for operative.
  • Section 106 from Thames Water Utilities (where appropriate).

We will be unable to process your application until we have received this information.

What if I have any queries, concerns or complaints?

If you have queries about the licence, please contact us either online or by telephone.

If you have any concerns about the location or safety of materials on the public highway, please report a highway problem to us.

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