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Highway Licences

Road opening and Section 50 licence

Only individuals with the correct statutory powers or those with an authorised licence can excavate the public highway. As we are both the Street and Highway Authority, we can authorise a private individual to excavate within a public highway by means of issuing an applicable licence.

How do I obtain a licence to excavate the public highway?

Under the Highways Act 1980 Sections 171 & 184, you will need a licence to open up the public highway, if you are working in the:

  • Adopted highways
  • Roads
  • Footways
  • Pavements
  • Verges
  • Alleyways 

This licence can be used for temporary minor excavations such as:

  • Trial holes
  • Construction of vehicle crossings
  • Minor alterations etc

To obtain a licence, please complete a Road Opening Permit and return to the address on the form.

Section 50 licence 

An S50 licence authorises private individuals and contractors to lay new apparatus or maintain existing apparatus in the adopted highway.

What is apparatus?

  • A piece of equipment used for a particular purpose, such as to transfer a service of some form (pipe/cable/sewer).
  • Any piece of equipment used to lodge another piece of apparatus e.g. ‘duct’ laid for cable.
  • A piece of equipment placed to gain access to another piece of apparatus e.g. a manhole/inspection chamber.
  • Repairs to private drainage.
  • Sewer connections.
  • Construction of permanent or temporary site entrances.

Please note that any apparatus placed under the highway surface or on the highway surface requires a Section 50 Licence, under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.


The cost of both licences is based on the duration of the works: 

  • Major (11 days or longer): £1600
  • Standard (between 4-10 days): £800
  • Minor/immediate (1-3 days): £450

This application will take 10 working days to process and you will be required to have a site meeting with the Street Works Inspector before any works commence on site.

To obtain a licence, please complete a Section 50 Licence application and return to the address on the form.

Under Section 171 of the Highway Act 1980, a permit is required to site a crane, hydraulic platform or welfare unit on the public highway.

Applying for a Licence

The charge to site a crane / hydraulic platform is £150 per seven days.

The charge to site a welfare unit / cabinet is £150 for the first 28 days; any additional weeks will be charged at £37.50.

This application will take seven working days to process and you will be required to have a site meeting with the Street Works Inspector before any works commence on site. 

You will need to complete an application to site a crane or hydraulic platform on the public highway and return to the address on the form.




Any scaffold or hoarding that encroaches or projects onto the highway (road, footpath, grass verge etc) must obtain a permit before the scaffold or hoarding is erected on the highway. 

Scaffold permits will only be considered if the applicant has agreed to the HSE Protocol and is on our select list. 


The charge for a permit is £150.00 for the first 28 days, then £100 for every additional 28-day period, which will be invoiced in due course.

Application Process

We require three days' advance notice of the commencement of works as a site meeting will be required with our Street Works Inspector.

You will need to complete a Scaffold and Hoarding Application Form and return to the address on the form.

To put a builder's skip on a public road, you will need to obtain a permit from us.

Application Process

Individuals cannot apply for a skip permit. You will need to contact a registered skip operator to do this on your behalf. 

The skip operator will need to complete a skip application form

There may be conditions attached to the permit including:

  • Making it visible to traffic
  • Dimensions of the skip
  • Location of the skip
  • It may need to be lockable


Skip permits are priced at £20 for seven days and £20 for every subsequent seven-day period.


If you have a complaint regarding a skip on the highway please email our Contact Centre or telephone 01744 676789.

To place tables, chairs or other temporary furniture on the pavement in England and Wales you require a licence from your local authority. Criteria is as follows:

  • Conditions may be attached
  • A fee will be payable
  • Frontager consent will be required
  • Full planning permission will be required

The application process

Applications for a Pavement Licence can be submitted by downloading and completing the application form, and returning it to us by following the instructions provided.

Applications for Planning Permission and a Highway Licence should be submitted, preferably at the same time, on the relevant application forms. Applications for Planning Permission will be determined prior to any licence being issued.

The application should include a location plan at 1:1250 scale, a layout plan at 1:100 scale together with specification of all furniture to be provided on the licensed area (not required at initial stage if electronic application is submitted). If umbrellas are proposed, this should also be specified. Plans submitted with the applications must identify the location of the building line and kerbline adjacent to the proposal or the opposite building line in a pedestrianised street, together with dimensions (see diagram in Guidelines Application Form for guidance) of the area for tables and chairs. The plans should also show any entrances to premises within or adjacent to this area plus that area which is considered to be private forecourt, location of trees, lampposts and other street furniture.

Applications should specify the hours during which they would wish to put out the tables and chairs. The application for Planning Permission will be dealt with by the Development Control Section of St.Helens Council. Applicants should note that the Planning Acts do not allow any account to be taken of objections raised on the grounds of increased commercial competition. The application for the Highway Licence will be dealt with by the Engineering group within the Environmental Protection Department.

The Council's Estates Section will be consulted to ensure that the application is acceptable in respect of land in ownership of the Council. Under the provisions of the Highways Act, the Council cannot grant a licence unless it obtains the consent of all interested frontagers who would be materially affected by the proposal. A site notice will be published giving details of the application, and affixed at or near to the site. A copy of this notice will be served on all frontagers and owners of other premises whom it is considered are likely to be materially affected by the proposal. The frontagers will be advised that their consent is requested with or without conditions. They will also be advised that consent cannot be unreasonably withheld, and that if they intend to refuse consent, then a reply stating their reasons is required within the 28 day period specified in the public notice. In the absence of a response from a frontager, it is deemed that consent has been unreasonably withheld and the Council will proceed to determine the application.

If a frontage expressly refuses consent but the Council is minded to grant a Highway Licence and has already granted Planning Permission, the Council cannot proceed to issue the Highway Licence until the question of whether the consent of the frontager has been unreasonably withheld has been determined by arbitration. If the Council is minded to refuse a Highway Licence, then refusal may proceed irrespective of whether or not the consent of the frontagers has been obtained. In considering applications for Highway Licences, officers may, if necessary, make arrangements to meet representatives on site from Merseyside Police, and if need be, the applicant. There is no right of appeal if the Highway Licence is refused, although the decision could be challenged by way of a judicial review. It is advised that any potential applicant should allow 6 months for the completion of the process, whether successful or not.

The licence application fee of £200, which can be paid electronically through the Council's web site or by cheque, will only be required at the end of the process if and when the licence is issued. The planning fee will be payable at the start of the planning process and this should be discussed with the Development Control Section of St.Helens Council. All other conditions and information relating to the licence are included within the Guidelines document mentioned above. If you wish to make any changes to the details of the licence please contact us for further advice.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us via the St.Helens Council Contact Centre.

Public register

There is no public register available for this service.

Redress mechanisms

If you have any complaints regarding the way your application has been processed, you should initially contact the Head of Engineering via the St.Helens Council Contact Centre.

In accordance with the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, Section 14 & 15 as amended by the Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Act 1991 and the Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Procedure Regulations 1992, anyone wishing to impose a temporary closure or restriction must apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order/Notice.

Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO)

This permits a restriction to be in place for anything up to 18 months on the highway and six months on a public right of way. This applicable for planned works on the highway which are planned to take longer than five consecutive days.

The charge for a TTRO is £2,000.

Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice (TTRN)

This is to facilitate urgent non-planned works where the council considers an early start on site would be beneficial it would be inappropriate to complete the process involved in preparing an 18-month TTRO or for works of a minor nature on minor roads. The maximum duration of this notice is five days.

The charge for a notice is £900.

Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice (TTRN) 

This is to facilitate emergency works only where there is a likelihood of danger to the public, or serious damage to the road. The maximum duration of this notice is 21 days.

The charge for a notice is £900.

Applying for a TTRO/TTRN

The application will take six weeks to process for a TTRO and two weeks for a TTRN with a five-day duration. A street works permit will be required; statutory undertakers will need to submit this via EToN and non-statutory undertakers will also need to complete a Highway Notice application. 

You will need to complete an application for a temporary road closure or restriction and return the form to roadclosures@sthelens.gov.uk

Please ensure you have fully read and understand the temporary road closure guidance notes before completing the form.