Skip to content
Street sign and cone icon

Section 50 excavations

A licence gives permission to excavate or open the footway or carriageway to carry out various works on the highway. 

Licensing is to balance the needs of businesses and residents with the public expectation of an unobstructed footway. Excavations on the public highway are not permitted until a licence has been agreed and issued.

To process the licence and ensure the co-ordination of works you will need to apply in accordance with the advance notice periods.

Minimum notice periods

Type of work

Advance notice period for applications (Section 54 NRSWA 1991)

 Notice of starting date of work (Section 55 NRSWA 1991)

Immediate notice (Section 57 NRSWA 1991)


Three months 

Ten working days

Not required


Not required

Ten working days

Not required


Not required

Three working days

Not required

Immediate: urgent

Not required

Two hours

Not required

Immediate: emergency

Not required

Not required

Two hours after

How to apply

Complete the online application form. As part of the application, you must provide the following information:

  • A complete description of works to be carried out and a drawing or diagram of the exact location of where excavation is to take place
  • Estimated dates that you require the licence
  • A copy of the NRSWA accreditation card showing proof of street works accreditation for one operative and one supervisor
  • A method statement
  • A risk assessment
  • Confirmation that you hold a public liability policy in for the sum of £10 million or above
  • If applicable, you should also provide a plan of the plant, a traffic management plan and a pedestrian management plan.

If we approve your application, we will provide you with details of how to pay online. You do not have to pay as part of the online application. 

Deposits and fees

You must pay a deposit to cover the cost of any damage caused to the highway that may occur during works or on completion of works. The licence fee schedule will determine the deposit to be paid for the licence. The management fee is determined by the duration of works. Please note non-excavation section 50s will have a charge of £423.

No payment is required with your application. If the application is approved, we will provide instructions on how to pay online by email.

Deposits and management fee

Depth of excavation

Deposit per metre square of area

 Deposit per metre length of perimeter

Duration of works

Management fee

Up to 0.9 metres



Up to three days


Over 0.9 metres to 1.5 metres



Four to ten days


Over 1.5 metres



Over ten days


If you need to extend the licence, you must apply within a reasonable period before your existing licence expires. You will be charged an extension fee.

You will be responsible for the provision and costs of traffic management and traffic signs on all affected roads, including any diversionary routes.

Apply for section 50 excavation licence

Contact details

If you have any questions, please contact

Was this information helpful?

Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.