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Section 50 Street Works Licence

Section 50 Street Works Licences

On this page you will find

When is a Section 50 Street Works Licence needed?

A Section 50 Street Works Licence application is required when:

  • A person or organisation wishes to place new apparatus under publicly maintained highway, which includes verge, footway and carriageway.

Apparatus as stated under S164 New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, includes any structure for the lodging therein of apparatus or for gaining access to apparatus

If you are unsure as to whether the proposed location of the apparatus is deemed as public highway, please contact the Highways Records Team at

Section 50 Street Works Licences are issued under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA). NRSWA is the primary source of legislation governing street works licences and associated procedures. Attention should be given to the whole of Part III of the Act, not merely Section 50 itself and also Schedule 3 of the Act, which includes consultation requirements under Section 55.

Who issues them and how long are they valid for?

Essex Highways, on behalf of Essex County Council, provides two durations of Section 50 Licences, a 5 year or 25 year Section 50 Licence.

  • 5 year licence – can only be issued, if written confirmation is sent in with the application confirming that the apparatus is to be adopted by the relevant utility company (gas, water, electric)
  • 25 year licence – is issued if apparatus is not going to be adopted by utility company. This licence is applied for by the property owner themselves.

What is required?

Before submitting the application pack, please complete the checklist which accompanies the application form located at the bottom of this page to ensure all necessary documents have been provided and completed correctly.

  1. Application form
  2. Three copies of a plan, highlighting apparatus with a broken red line located within the public highway. No apparatus should be marked within private land boundaries. The plan should include:

    A scale, preferably 1:2500
    Plan number
    The route of the apparatus marked in red
    North arrow
    Road names
    Identifying landmarks on the ground, (i.e. property numbers, names of civic buildings etc.).
  3. One copy of plan unmarked
  4. Site location plan showing boundary of the site to benefit from Section 50 licence, marked in red
  5. Copy of applicants (company or person applying for the licence) £5 million public liability insurance
  6. Copy of letter from relevant utility company, if licence is for 5 years, confirming adoption of apparatus
  7. Title documents and Plan from Land Registry – Required if the applicant is the owner of the property
  8. Letter of instruction – Required if the applicant is a third party/contractor

Application Form explanations

The term ‘applicant’ is the person/company who will be holding the licence, and therefore the person/company who will be responsible for the apparatus for the duration of the licence or until adopted (if applicable).

If the applicant is the owner of the property, proof of ownership of the property is required, by sending official copies from the Land Registry.

If the applicant is the contractor or third party, the ‘Letter of Instruction’ is required from the owner, confirming they are the owner and they consent for the contractor to apply for the licence on their behalf.


A Section 50 Street Work Licence fee includes a £931.50 legal and highways administration fee plus £5 per year of licence, so:

  • a 5 year licence will be £931.50 + £25 = £956.50
  • a 25 year licence will be £931.50 + £125 = £1056.50

The fees will be requested once the application has been received. Payments will be requested by BACs.

A road opening fee of £150 will be applicable once the Licence has been granted this fee will be included in the application fee. (See more information about applying for the Section 50 Road Opening Notice below.)

Steps involved

  1. Send in completed application pack
  2. Confirmation sent to applicant confirming receipt of pack, if further information needed this will be requested, normally via email to save time
  3. Once all required information and forms have been received the application is sent to Essex Legal Services to draft the licence and notify the statutory undertakers (Stats) of the proposed apparatus
  4. Ten working days notice given to the Stats to reply
  5. Draft licence emailed to applicant to approve
  6. Engrossments sent in the post for signing which should be returned to Essex Legal Services
  7. Licence sealed and a copy will be emailed to applicant for their records

How long does it take?

A minimum period of 6 weeks should be given to allow for a Section 50 Street Works Licence statutory process to be undertaken.

Please note: no works are to be carried out until the licence has been issued and the Road Opening Notice submitted. Any apparatus placed in the publicly maintainable highway without a Section 50 licence is illegal and will be subject to enforcement action by the council for its removal

Section 50 Road Opening Notice 

Once the Section 50 Licence has been issued and a start dated has been confirmed the Section 50 Road Opening Notice should be applied for. This is to book the road space and programme the works. Please submit your completed Section 50 Road Opening Notice to follow the guidelines stated on the Section 50 Road Opening Notice application form.

Where should I send my completed application pack?

Please submit your application using the Submit button in the application form.