Somerset County Council

Apply for a licence to do minor works on or near the road


Important changes to the processing of licence applications

We have recently reviewed the cost of licence fees for applications to work on the highway and for the provision of vehicle crossings over footways and verges. The review confirmed the cost of the licence fees have not kept pace with the costs for administration. Regrettably this is currently unsustainable. As such, the fees will be raised as detailed below.

From 1 January 2019 the following charges will apply to:

  • Application for “minor works on/adjacent to the public highway” (Highways Act 1980, Section 171 Licence) - £232 (was £90)
  • Application for a vehicle crossings over footways and verges (Highways Act 1980, Section 184 Licence) - £218 (was £90)

We will also be making a number of improvements to the way we process licences. They can now be applied for and paid for online making it quicker and easier to work on the highway network. 

Before any minor works are carried out on or adjacent to the public highway you are required to obtain a licence from us.

The licence permits minor works such as tree works, installation of private street furniture, building/re-building boundary walls on or adjacent to the highway to be carried out with the approval of us as the Highway Authority. This licence can also be used to obtain permission to deposit building materials on the highway.

The licence is commonly referred to as a 'Section 171' and is issued under the Highways Act 1980 (Section 171) Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 (Section 65) and Environment Protection Act 1980 (Section 34).

Standard conditions are attached to the application with additional conditions added as appropriate. You can find a sample Section 171 Application Form in the Information and resources section.

If the highway has to be closed to traffic a separate application will have to be made which will take 3 months to process. You can find more information on Apply to close a road for street works

Who can use it?
A company or contractor may apply on behalf of the land or property owner, but the licence will remain in the possession of the land or property owner.

How do I use it?
Contact us and we will send you a licence application by email, fax or post. We will also give you a unique reference number.

 Typically we will require;

  • Owner and contractor details

  • Details of the proposed works

  • Location plans

  • Traffic Management Plans

You can find a sample Section 171 Application Form (for reference only) in the Information and resources section.

What happens next?
We will process the completed licence application and contact you should any further information or clarification be required.

We will then send you a licence to carry out the works which must remain in possession of the property or land owner.

How long does it take?
The standard processing time from submitting an application to receiving a granted licence is approximately 10 working days.

You will be informed if your application is refused. An application may be delayed if we have not received all of the requested information. A site visit to discuss the proposed works may also be required.

The application is valid for one month. Subsequent extensions will be treated as new applications and will be subject to a further fee.

How much does it cost?
The application form contains current pricing, which is subject to change by administration and legislative changes.

Authorisation for the connection of new drainage to existing highway drainage system will not be granted.

Laws and regulation
The Licence is issued in accordance with the Highways Act 1980 (Section 171), Road Traffic Act 1984 (Section 65) and Environmental Protection Act 1980 (Section 34).

Quality standards
As stated within the licence, the quality of workmanship will be monitored.

Our aim is to:

  • Assist in the management of street and road works, road closures and traffic movement on Somerset's road network

  • Enable records of works to ensure associated highway integrity.

To achieve this we will need:

  • An accurate location of where the works are to take place, including a postcode

  • Traffic Management Plans for the proposed works  

We may impose special conditions:

  • In the interests of safety

  • To minimise the inconvenience to persons using the street, in particular, the needs of people with a disability

  • To protect the structure of the street and the integrity of apparatus in it.

The applicant must strictly adhere to the conditions attached to the application.


Contact: Roads and Transport Team
Phone: 0300 123 2224
Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

If there is an urgent problem outside these hours and it is a risk to public safety please phone the police on 101.

If you need to visit a highway area office you can find the address of your local office here.

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