Guidance Notes
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Section 178 Licence Guidance notes for applicants


General Guidance:


Any third party (other than a Statutory Undertaker) wishing to fix or place any overhead beam, rail, pipe, cable, wire or other similar apparatus over, along, or across a highway must obtain a licence in accordance with Section 178 of the Highways Act 1980.

Apparatus placed in the highway without a valid licence or non-compliance with conditions of the licence that has been issued, is a criminal offence pursuant to S178(4) of the Highway Act 1980. In such cases any apparatus may be removed by the Highway Authority and disposed of. All costs incurred by the Highway Authority in carrying out this work will be recharged to the relevant parties.

The apparatus licence will be subject to the conditions specified within the licence and may also be subject to time limits. Upon expiry of the licence the apparatus must be removed by the owner(s). Licences may be renewed if the apparatus is required beyond the original specified period.

The fee of £290 for dealing with the licence application shall be paid in advance.

Please note in the event of an unsuccessful application the fee will be refunded less an administration charge of £90

The licensed apparatus shall at all times be maintained in a safe and clean condition.

The Authority may suspend the licence at any time if it is deemed necessary in the event of work being carried out in, under or over the highway on which the apparatus is situated or any adjacent highway, or in the case of any special event.


The person to whom the licence is granted to shall indemnify Authority against any cost claims actions or damage arising out of the placing of the apparatus in, under or over the highway.


The person to whom the licence is granted shall bear absolute responsibility for ensuring that adequate public liability insurance is held in respect of the permitted area and the cover obtained shall not be less than £5,000,000, for any one claim. Evidence of such public liability insurance cover shall be provided to the satisfaction of the Authority before the Licence can be issued, and shall be maintained thereafter for the period of the Licence.


The licence is not assignable.  In the event that the property / apparatus is sold or transferred, then the person to whom the Licence is granted shall notify the Authority providing details of the new ownership.  Until such time as the Licence may be granted to the new ownership, the original person to whom the Licence has been granted will remain liable under the terms of the Licence.


The Authority may at any time vary the licence or conditions thereof.


If the person to whom the licence is granted to, breaches any one or more of the conditions thereof, the Authority may serve a “default” notice requiring the breach of conditions to be remedied in particular within a stated time and should it be necessary in order remedy the default the Authority may require the apparatus to be removed from the highway either temporarily or permanently.


No apparatus shall protrude into the highway at a height less than:

Footway – 2.5m above the footway and shall not encroach within 0.45m of the kerb line.


Carriageway - 6.0m above the carriageway on normal traffic routes and 7.5m above the carriageway on abnormal load routes.


Should the need to use scaffolding / mechanical hoist to enable the applicant to install the apparatus then a scaffolding licence will need to be applied for. Please email or complete the following application form online -

Similarly if a road closure is required to enable the apparatus to be installed safely then the applicant needs to apply to the Authority for a legal road closure. Please email

All applicants will be notified within 30 working days whether their application has been successful or not, but the apparatus to be licensed must not be placed until the licence has been issued by the Authority.

Please tick to confirm you have understood and are happy to comply with the guidance notes above *
Please tick to confirm you have understood and are happy to comply with the guidance notes above
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