Excavation of the highway

You need a Section 50 licence to excavate the public highway. You are legally obliged to apply for a licence so that we can:

  • Ensure the works carried out do not pose a danger to other users of the highway
  • Minimise disruption to traffic and to people using the street
  • Protect the structure of the street and the integrity of any equipment/apparatus on it.

Any works that require construction of a site entrance must not commence until approval has been granted.

Application process

You must apply at least three working days before any works are carried out on the highway.

The applicant/contractor will need to apply and pay online.

Notice for reinstatement of works

When your excavation of the highway is finished and you're ready to reinstate your work, you will need to provide notice of reinstatement of the highway.


Breakdown of fees 2024/25
Section 50 licenceFee
Admin  £311
Capitalised fee  £311
Capitalised fee for classified roads  £622
Inspection fee per 200 metres (or part of) £162

Fees vary depending on the type of road and scale of work taking place, but the minimum charge you can expect is £784.


Regulations for excavation of a public highway can be found under Section 50 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

© Wigan Council