It is an offence to obstruct the free passage of the highway. There are several applications you can make including Highway Licences dropped kerbs and temporary structure.

Obstructions are objects which have been unlawfully placed on or which overhang the highway. Examples of obstructions include:

  • builders' skips
  • scaffolding or hoardings
  • builders' materials
  • temporary works including traffic lights
  • overhanging tree branches or hedges
  • mud or debris on the road
  • mixing concrete or mortar on the highway
  • unauthorised vendors or traders
  • encroachment of highway boundaries
  • discharge of water onto the highway
  • blocking "Rights of Way"
  • plants and bushes
  • illegal signs

Encroachments are where ownership of areas of the highway has been unlawfully assumed.

If a person without lawful authority or excuse in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway, they are guilty of an offence. In such cases, the Highway Authority has legal powers to enforce their removal.

Highway Licences

Other than statutory undertakers anyone wishing to dig into or to place a structure on or over the public highway needs a licence from the Council prior to starting work.

This is to help the Council protect its most valuable asset and also to ensure the Council can fulfil its legal duty to coordinate activity on the highway to minimise disruption. The different kinds of licence available are:

Footway Crossing Application - including Dropped Kerb

The Footway Crossing Application Pack is the form needed to apply for a dropped kerb inspection. It can be used for a private house or commercial premises, whether it is for a new crossing or to extend an existing one the cost is £115 for the initial inspection by a Council officer.

To enquire about a site visit and for further information on the application process please email or visit Dropped Kerbs

The next stage in the process (the permit to dig into the public highway) is explained at the inspection. A discount on the cost of having a dropped kerb is available if you are a registered disabled person (and referred through the Home Improvement Agency - HIA) or it is built as part of a Council footway improvement scheme.

Section 171 Application

The Section 171 Application Pack is the application to dig into the public highway.

The Council does not install dropped kerbs, this application is usually made by the contractor you choose to install the dropped kerb for you, although you must pay the cost (£335).

To request an application form, please email

Section 50 Application

The Section 50 Application Pack is a licence that permits an organisation with at least £5 million public liability insurance to dig into the public highway, usually in association with work on utility apparatus, each permit costs £500.

To request an application form, please email

If any traffic management is required in association with works, for more information please visit  - Temporary traffic management

Temporary Structure Application

The Temporary Structure Application Pack is used to apply for a scaffold, tower, hoarding, fence, crane, cabin, scissor lift or hydraulic platform on the public highway.

Please see table below outlining the associated costs. Applicants need to be covered by at least £5 million Public Liability Insurance.

To request an application form for any of the below, please email

Item Cost per item
Scaffold & tower Cost for first month: £130.00
Renewal fee for any subsequent month: £50.00
Hoarding & fence Cost for first month: £130.00
Renewal fee for any subsequent month: £50.00
Crane oversails, cabins & scissor lifts Cost for first month: £130.00
Renewal fee for any subsequent month: £50.00
Hydraulic platforms & welfare cabins Cost for first month: £130.00
Renewal fee for any subsequent month: £50.00
Mobile crane licence Cost for 1 day: £125.00
Cost for 2 – 28 days: £200.00
Other plant / equipment Cost for first month: £130.00
Renewal fee for any subsequent month: £50.00
Skip Permit/Operators Application

If a skip is to be placed anywhere on the public highway a skip permit is required (The highway includes the road, footpath and verges).

A member of the general public cannot apply for a skip permit. A skip operator must apply for it on the customer's behalf.

Skip operators need to be registered with the Council and then apply for a permit each time they wish to place a skip on the public highway.

Operators need to meet certain criteria, including, having a minimum of £5 million Public Liability Insurance.

Each permit costs £35 but there can be restrictions on their location or timing.

The WCC Skip Operators Application Pack gives full details. Any individual or business requiring a skip should apply through a registered operator.

To request an application form, please email