You need a section 50 licence to:

  • dig up the road to repair existing apparatus such as pipe work or cables
  • place new apparatus such as pipe work or cables in the road, that is or will be in your ownership
  • have utility-owned apparatus placed in a trench excavated by a third party (a contractor which you have hired that has no connection to any of the utility companies)
  • inspect, adjust, maintain, repair, renew, move, alter or remove apparatus
  • dig or tunnel into a street, sewer or drain

You can do emergency work without a licence but you must tell us within 2 hours of starting work.


If you want to do work that will affect a public sewer, you must ask the sewer authority before giving us notice.

Apply for a streetworks licence

Read the guidance notes before you apply.

You must apply at least one month before you plan to start work. 

Complete each of the relevant application forms:

  1. work to install new apparatus with conditions - required at least one month before the proposed start date
  2. work on existing apparatus with conditions - required at least one month before the proposed start date
  3. notice of work - required at least 7 days before the proposed start date
  4. registration of work - required within 7 days of completion of reinstatement
  5. waste transfer note - complete only if required, and send together with the registration of work

Cost and payment

It costs:

  • £485 for the installation of new apparatus
  • £305 for work to existing apparatus

Credit/debit card payment

We recommend secure, fast telephone payment via a credit or debit card. If you choose to pay by card, we will invite you to contact us by phone to make a payment once your application has been approved.


We will invite you to send a signed cheque if your application is approved. Make it payable to Dorset Council for the agreed sum, and send it to Traffic Team, Dorset Highways, County Hall, Collition Park, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. Please specify the work reference provided on approval on the reverse of the cheque.

Before you start work

Co-ordinate your work around other planned roadworks and check our map showing busy roads to plan your work at times that would cause the least traffic disruption.

Read the Safety at Street Works and Road Works - A National Code of Practice. Failure to comply with the code when executing works on the highway is evidence of failing to fulfil the legal requirements to sign, light and guard work. Compliance with the code will be taken as compliance with the legal requirements to which it relates. Further guidance on safe working on highways, including for some situations not covered by this code, is available in Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual part 1, part 2 and part 3.


The person granted a street works licence becomes an Undertaker for the purposes of NRSWA, and therefore attracts the relevant duties and responsibilities imposed by the Act and its associated secondary legislation and codes of practice.

Financial penalties will be imposed by the council against the licence holder, who will be held responsible for non-compliance with the relevant statutory duties or licence conditions. Applicants should note that this responsibility cannot be delegated to any other person or organisation.

A streetworks licence or consent to work on existing apparatus in the highway will only be granted to the owner(s) of the apparatus or his/her/their Successors in Title. Owners should note their statutory duty to ensure that the apparatus is properly maintained at all times.

Applicants should note that special conditions may be imposed by the council which must be adhered:

  • to minimise the inconvenience to persons using the street, having regard to people with a disability in particular
  • for works in traffic sensitive streets, streets with special engineering difficulties and protected streets 

The licensee must permit the council to monitor their performance throughout all stages of street works. These are signing and guarding, excavation, backfilling and reinstatement:

  • immediately after permanent reinstatement
  • between 6 and 9 months after permanent reinstatement
  • during the one month preceding the end of the guarantee period (this period will begin from the date the council is notified of the permanent reinstatement)

Where the apparatus in respect of which an application for a street works licence is made to the council is to be placed or retained on a line crossing the street, and not along the line of the street, a person aggrieved by any of the following may appeal to the Secretary of State on the grounds of:

  • the refusal of the council to grant him a licence
  • the refusal of the council to grant a licence except on terms prohibiting its assignment or
  • any terms or conditions of the licence granted to him

Traffic Team (Section 50 applications)

Name: Traffic Team
Tel: 01305 221020
Full contact details

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