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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Road space and section 50 licence

You need a licence to carry out private works or any activity 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)


  • applications for the installation of new apparatus are charged at £475
  • applications for work to existing apparatus are charged at £300

Start the section 50 application process
The process must commence with at least one month's notice.

  • are carrying out minor alterations to the existing road layout (where you've sought approval from Dorset Highways first) or are placing a licenced obstruction in the road like hoarding or scaffold and positive traffic management (like temporary signals) are required
  • are carrying out works associated with new developments and where there is a section 38, section 278 or agreement signed
  • 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 pedestrians and traffic flow


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

Apply for a road space booking
An absolute minimum of 10 working days notice is required for all applications, the exception being emergency works that, by definition, need to start 'immediately'.

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.


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.

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