Excavating the highway

Any excavation of the public highway must be licensed under Section 50 or Section 171 of the Highways Act 1980.

The term ‘public highway’ includes roads, pavements and verges.

Who can apply?

Only contractors who are accredited under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and who hold £10 million public liability insurance, may apply for a licence.

Applications must only be completed by the contractor who holds the valid £10 million public liability insurance.


  • £614.50 in payment of application, inspection and manual noticing fees
  • Deposit £98 per square metre of reinstatement (minimum deposit £654)

Example of Section 50 works

Installation of apparatus in the public highway (e.g. a new service connection).

Example of Section 171 works

All other excavation, including vehicle crossings and repairs to existing services.


Please contact southamptontma@balfourbeatty.com or telephone 023 8079 8077 for an application form.