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Section 50 – Excavating or occupation of the highway

Applying for a licence to excavate or for occupation of the public highway.

What permissions do I need to excavate in the highway?

Any private contractor who wants to carry out excavations in the highway must apply for and be granted a licence before work starts in accordance with the Highways Act 1980.

A licence and permit must be obtained before commencing any work.

It is an offence to excavate in the highways without lawful consent or authority.

If consent is given, the owner (Licensee) and the person carrying out the works will be required to execute any works to the requirements and standards of the New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) and will be subject to its provisions and all applicable legislation. The Licensee should ensure all parties named in the application are aware of their responsibilities and liabilities.

The ‘highway’ includes carriageway, footway and verge. Carrying out such work without a licence is an offence and may result in prosecution. Those granted a licence become 'undertakers' (for the purposes of NRSWA), and because of that take on responsibility for carrying out the duties and responsibilities imposed by the Act and its associated regulations and Codes of Practice.

Licences are issued for such works as trial holes and boundary wall foundations etc. 

The excavation licence covered by this section does not include the placement of apparatus.

For placing any apparatus in the highway, please refer to Placing apparatus in the public highway.

How do I apply for a licence?

Complete and submit the application form below:Application Form SWL3 (pdf 471kb)

and send it link to below together with the following:

  • A 1:2500 plan
  • The fee - see highway charges
  • Utility plans
  • Copies of New Road and Street Works cards for Operative and Supervisor (front and back)
  • A copy of certificate for Public Liability Insurance of a minimum of £5 million must be provided up to the completion of the permanent reinstatement.

Most applications are likely to be processed within one calendar month and we will contact you to confirm our decision. 

The council cannot be held liable for any delays arising to your project from a delay to making a decision on your application.

How long will it take to process my application?

Most applications are likely to be processed within one calendar month and we will then contact you to confirm our decision. 

However, there will be occasions, particularly for more complex applications, where the council is unable to make a quick decision or may need more information to help reach a decision.

The Street Works team are not liable for any delays arising to your project from a delay to making a decision on your application.

How much notice do I need to give?

This depends on the duration and extent of the proposed works.

Major works

Major works involve either a road closure or have a planned duration of 11 working days or more. 

What you need to submit

Application must have been submitted 18 weeks in advance of the works commencing date. 

The Licensee must submit an advanced notification of planned work a minimum of 3 months in advance of any planned works (form SWL4a) additionally the Licensee must give 10 working days’ notice of the intended starting date to the street authority (form SWL4b).

Upon commencement of works, the actual start of works must be notified, to the street authority by the end of the next working day form (form SWL4c). 

Standard works

Standard works have a planned duration of 4 to 10 working days. 

What you need to submit

Application must have been submitted 10 weeks before the works' commencing date.

The licensee must submit an advanced notification of planned work a minimum of 1 month in advance of any planned works (form SWL4a) additionally the Licensee must give 10 working days’ notice of the intended starting date to the street authority (form SWL4b).

Upon commencement of works, the actual start of the works must be notified to the street authority by the end of the next working day (form SWL4c). 

Minor works

Minor works have a planned duration of three working days or less. 

What you need to submit

Application must have been submitted 10 weeks in advance of the works commencing date. 

The licensee must submit an advanced notification of planned work a minimum of 1 month in advance of any planned works (form SWL4a) additionally the Licensee must give 10 working days’ notice of the intended starting date to the street authority (form SWL4b).

Upon commencement of works, the actual start of the works must be notified to the street authority by the end of the next working day (form SWL4c).

Immediate works

Immediate activities are emergency works. This may also include corrective works to dangerous defects.

They are works that are needed to:

  • stop an unplanned interruption of any supply or service provided by the company 
  • avoid substantial loss to the company in relation to an existing service
  • reconnect supplies or services where the company would be under a civil or criminal liability if the reconnection is delayed.

These types of activities may start without a licence.

If you need to carry out immediate works you must submit an application within 2 hours of the works starting (or by 10 a.m. on the next working day where the Authorities' contact line is not staffed out-of-hours).

For more detailed information please read the full guidance notes: 

Other notice periods

The Street Works team may need more time to process the application in certain circumstances, for example, for works that may have a significant impact on traffic flow on strategic routes or lead to lengthy road closures.  

Shorter notice periods may also be possible but must be agreed by the Street Works team in conjunction with the statutory undertakers likely to be affected. 

Please contact us via email for further guidance:

Email: streetworks@eastriding.gov.uk

For more detailed information please read the full guidance notes:

Can I place any traffic management?

Where traffic management is required as part of the works, a separate (form SWL8) Temporary traffic management application must also be submitted with the original application. 

What do I do when I’ve finished the works?

It is the responsibility of the applicant to inform the Street Works team of the completion of the reinstatement of the works by the end of the working day following the completion stating whether the reinstatement is interim or permanent using (form SWL5) Notice of works stop and registration.

Will my works be monitored?

The Applicant must permit the Street Authority to monitor his or his contractors’ performance throughout the following stages of street works which are:

  • signing, guarding and excavation
  • signing, guarding and reinstatement
  • immediately after permanent reinstatement
  • between six and nine months after permanent reinstatement and during the one month preceding the end of the guarantee period. 

What guarantees must I include?

The guarantee period begins from the date the Street Authority receives the Notification of completion of works form and will last for two years for reinstatement up to 1.5m deep, and three years for those in greater than 1.5m deep. It is therefore important to notify the Street Authority as soon as the works have been completed:

  • signing, guarding and excavation
  • signing, guarding and reinstatement
  • immediately after permanent reinstatement
  • between six and nine months after permanent reinstatement and during the one month preceding the end of the guarantee period. 

Who do I send the completed applications and payment to?

Completed application forms should be sent to:

Email: streetworks@eastriding.gov.uk

Payment, which must be made at the time of application can be made by telephone to the Street Works team on (01482) 393939.

Applications can also be made by sending forms to:

NRSWA Team
Beverley Depot
Annie Reed Road
Beverley
East Riding of Yorkshire
HU17 0LF.

Payment, which must be made at the time of application can be made by telephone to the Street Works team on (01482) 395050.

All works progress notifications must be made, via email, to:

Email: streetworks@eastriding.gov.uk

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