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Highway licences and consents

If you need to obstruct or dig up the highway, you need to apply for a licence or consent to do so.

Apply for a skip licence

What is it for

Licences are required to ensure the skips do not block access to property or apparatus within the highway, restrict visibility at junctions, accesses and crossing points or reduce highway widths to an unacceptable extent.

You don’t need a licence if you’re putting the skip entirely on private land.


Application for placing a skip on highways (PDF).

Apply for a scaffold or hoarding licence

What is it for

A licence is required to erect scaffolding on a public highway. This includes private streets where the public have right of access. You don't need a licence to place scaffolding on private roads.

Every application is considered on an individual basis and site specific conditions may be applied to ensure public safety.

Who can apply

Scaffolding companies must apply on behalf of their customers.

Standard Terms

Our standard terms and conditions are specified on the application form.  Should approval be granted, you will be responsible for complying with these.


The fees prescribed under sections 55(1A) and 64(2) of the Highways Act 1986 are:

Area (square metres)Fee (per week including any part of a week)
Less than 10 £20
Between 10 and 50 £50
Greater than 50 £100

Please note that the fees are applicable only after the first 4 week period has expired.


Application for placing scaffold or hoarding on highways (PDF).

Apply for a road opening licence

Who needs a licence

A road opening licence is required to dig up a road or for excavations in the highway.

Who can apply

A company or contractor will apply for permission to excavate the highway, often on behalf of a land or property owner.  This is because it is the applicant who will be required to comply with and accept the licence conditions.

Conditions of licence

The conditions that apply are specified on the application form.  Should approval be granted, the applicant will be responsible for complying with these.


Application Form and conditions for road opening (PDF)

Apply for use of temporary traffic lights or stop/go boards on roads

If you want to place temporary traffic lights or stop/go boards on the public highway you must have consent - this may be in addition to other licences/consents required for your proposed works.

Who should apply

Anyone who wishes to use temporary traffic lights or stop/go boards on a road must obtain consent from the Department. This includes:

  • where traffic lights are to be used in conjunction with any other licence
  • where traffic lights are to be used for an event

Multiple licences may be required depending on the nature of the works.

Anyone can apply for approval, but we usually receive requests from contractors in charge of the works.

We have the right to specify conditions relating to the consent (see the guidance notes for more information).

Timescales for submission

The following minimum notice periods apply when seeking permission for temporary traffic control on roads –

Traffic control or road categoryMinimum notice period
Stop/go boards 14 days
Two way signals 14 days
Multi phase signals 21 days
All signals on primary and district routes 21 days

To understand what roads are primary and district routes, you can access a map of the road hierarchy.


The provision, operation and maintenance of all signing, lighting and guarding associated with portable traffic (PTS) signals must be in accordance with the 'Safety at Street Works and Road Works - A code of practice' which should be read in conjunction with Chapter 8 of the 'Traffic Signs Manual'. The supervisor for the works must be competent to manage the use of the temporary traffic signals or stop/go boards.


It is the applicant's responsibility to source the equipment required.


You will be given permission to use temporary traffic lights or PTS at a given location and given time only.

Permission to use temporary traffic lights does not override the requirement to obtain other permits for utility or highway works.

Temporary traffic lights must only be used when absolutely necessary and must be removed or deactivated immediately after use. They must also be appropriately maintained at all times.

Manual management may be stipulated as part of the granting of consent. In that scenario, the condition will stipulate the times they are to be manually managed and the objective of the manual management (e.g. to avoid congestion at a nearby junction). Failure to comply with such a requirement may render the approval void.

An emergency 24 hour contact telephone number of the applicant's representative must be displayed at every site. This notice must also include details of the applicant (or promoters) name.

Where temporary traffic lights are proposed on any primary or district routes, advance notice signs must be erected at the location giving road users details of the work that is proposed.

Change in the dates of works requires a new application to be submitted as does an extension of the original duration.

If temporary traffic lights are required in conjunction with any other licence then only consent in principle will be granted.

Emergency application

Should your works require temporary traffic signals to be installed in an emergency, you will need to contact us whilst still applying through the normal process. The timelines for submission will not apply in these circumstances.

Normal working hours

Ellerslie Control – telephone +44 1624 850000.

Outside normal working hours

Duty officer – telephone +44 1624 672000.


There is no charge for this consent.

Other Licence/ Consents that are required in conjunction with temporary traffic lights consent may incur a charge.


Apply now

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