Working on the highway

The highway is primarily for use of the public to pass and repass and not for the convenience of activities within or adjacent to it. The option to work in the highway should always be the last resort when all other reasonable options have been fully considered and eliminated.

Selecting the correct licence

It is illegal under the Highways Act 1980 to work or obstruct the highway without permission from us. If you do need to work on the highway in Poole it is important that you apply to the us in good time and select the correct licence:

Section 50 Street Works Licence (SWL)

This applications covers:

  • placing new apparatus in or under the highway, such as a new sewer connection
  • work on existing apparatus, such as repairs to a sewer
  • notifying us of existing other utilities that may be affected
  • informing us how any waste is to be removed from the site


Please read the Street Works Licence Conditions and the Street Works Licence Guidance Notes before completing the online application. 

Section 171

This application covers:

  • work involving breaking up the highway but not laying or maintaining apparatus, such as installing or extending a vehicle access


Please read the Conditions for placing equipment on the highway and the Street Works Licence Guidance Notes before completing the online application. 

You MUST ensure all planning conditions are met, as a Section 50/Section 171 Licence does not overrule any planning constraints.

Miscellaneous activity

Work does not involve breaking up the highway but will involve working in the highway, for example, a crane lift.

Whichever licence you need to apply for, it is important to follow the guidance as well as reading the conditions associated with the type of licence you need.

Before the works

Your application must be submitted within the timescale shown below and must be accompanied by the fee shown on the form and any supporting documentation. Incomplete forms or those without supporting documentation will not be processed until all the required information is received.

  • the application form requires details regarding the applicant/owner or contractor depending on the licence. Please ensure these details are provided and the correct signature is on the form. We are unable to accept applications signed by the contractor unless they are also the owner and/or applicant
  • a proposed start date and end date must always be provided. We have a duty to co-ordinate activities on the highway and as such will need to ensure your chosen dates do not clash with any other nearby works or events. It may be useful for applicants to check the website prior to selecting dates where all currently applied for licences will be displayed on an interactive map. It is not acceptable to enter ‘ASAP’ or ‘TBA’ as a proposed date
  • a clear plan must always be provided showing the location and extent of the proposed works
  • a clear traffic management plan designed to the standards set in safety at street works and road works must also be provided along with a site specific risk assessment. It is not acceptable to photocopy pages from the code of practice
  • proof of accreditation under NRSWA 1991 should be provided in the form of photocopies of at least one each of supervisor and operative cards. It is important copies show both sides of the cards and that cards are available for inspection on site at all times
  • proof of valid public liability insurance to the value of £10million should always be provided in the form of a scanned or photocopied certificate

The amount of notice needed for all full completed licences to be processed is:

  • major works: works lasting over 10 days or requiring a Temporary Traffic Order - 3 months notice
  • standard works: works lasting between 4 and 10 days in duration - 4 weeks notice
  • minor works: works lasting 3 days or less - 2 weeks notice

If you would like any assistance applying for a street works licence we are happy to support you but please be aware we are unable to produce traffic management plans or carry out risk assessments for you. Call 01202 451142 or email if you would like us to help you with your application.

During the works

Works must not commence on site until a licence has been approved by BCP Council. Please remember it is an offence to work on the Highway without a licence and you may be prosecuted. If in doubt please contact Street Works on 01202 451142 before commencing works.

During your works a member of the Street Works team may inspect your works and request to see NRSWA cards as well as a copy of the traffic management risk assessment. The council officer will be looking at all aspects of your site including traffic management, excavation and operation practices. All works must be carried out to HAUC standards.

If anything changes during your works it is your responsibility to keep the council informed, this is particularly important if your works are likely to overrun the scheduled end date. Works that overrun without the agreement of the council will be liable to standard Section 74 charges.

After the works

Following your works you must inform us of your completed works as soon as possible but at the very most within one working day.

Works carried out under a Section 50 Licence will also require a SWL 5 showing completed registration of works, to be submitted within 7 working days. The S171 Licences require the dimensions and position of the reinstatement within 7 working days.

Failure to inform us of works completion will lead to a chargeable visit by a council officer who will photograph and measure the reinstatement. Multiple failures to register completion of works may lead to subsequent licences being refused.

Page last updated: 28 August 2020
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