Skip to content

We use cookies to make the site simpler.  Find out more about cookies

Close alert

Works on the highway licence

You need a licence to carry out private works or anything which affects or obstructs the highway. A fixed penalty notice may be served on those carrying out unauthorised work.

Before you start work:

Working in the highway
You need a section 50 licence if you:You need a road space booking if you:
  • need to dig up the road to repair existing apparatus such as pipe work or cables
  • need to place new apparatus such as pipe work or cables in the road, that is or will be in your ownership
  • need to 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)

If, to undertake the work safely, a temporary traffic restriction is required like a road closure or temporary speed limit, then you will require an additional licence.

  • are carrying out minor alterations to the existing road layout (which have been given express approval from Dorset Highways Operations first
  • are carrying out works associated with new developments and where there is a section 38, section 278 or other legislation agreed
  • are not excavating/digging in the public highway but are working on it or from it, for example, for building maintenance or tree surgery and the works will impact on traffic flow
  • are placing a licenced obstruction in the road like hoarding or scaffold and traffic management (like temporary signals) are required. Temporary signals are authorised through an additional licence.

Please note that these are not exhaustive lists and there are many variations which determine what application(s) you need to complete. If you require any assistance before applying, please contact us.

Apply for a section 50 licence

Fees and charges

  • installation of new apparatus - £475 per application
  • repair of existing apparatus - £300 per application

Additional inspections over-and-above those included as standard will incur additional charges.

Please allow 28 days for processing and administration. We reserve the right to refuse applications with lead-times less than this.

Start now

Apply for a road space booking

Fees and charges

  • £25 per application, per phase of work
  • £1 for each additional street affected by the same job/activity

Please allow 10 working days for processing and administration.

Start now 


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 works reference provided on approval on the reverse of the cheque.

Rate this page

Have some feedback?

Your feedback

This form is to report content that is wrong, or any issues or feedback you have about the web page.

Contact us if you want to get in touch about a council service instead.

All fields are required.

Leave your email address so that we can provide a response.

This helps us direct your feedback to the appropriate council.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.