Applying for a Section 50 licence

Applying for a licence to dig up and place apparatus on a public road.

Who will need a Section 50 licence

If you, or your organisation, wish to carry out work within, excavate, or breakthrough, the existing adopted highway to install new apparatus, you will need to apply for a Section 50 licence.

Road Opening Licences are issued for works such as sewer connections, trial holes and boundary wall foundations.

This Section 50 licence can only be granted to the owner of the apparatus. A licence will not be issued to a third party who may install and maintain the apparatus on behalf of the owner.

You must apply for a Section 50 licence before the proposed works are due to start.

A competent contractor can help you to complete the application form.​

Work covered by the licence

The term 'apparatus' includes:

  • drains
  • cables
  • ducts
  • sewer pipes
  • water
  • gas pipes

The licence applies to any person or organisation (other than anyone acting under statutory right) who wishes to place, retain, inspect, maintain, adjust, repair, alter or renew apparatus, or change its position or remove it from the highway.

This includes opening up the highway or boring beneath the highway in relation to apparatus in, under, over, across, along, or upon the highway.

How to apply

  1. Complete the application form (doc format, 61Kb).
  2. Upload the completed application and your documents to our Section 50 licences contact form.
  3. Pay the fees by BACS or card.

Documents you need to supply

You must upload your documents with your application. We will not consider any application that does not include the documents.

You need to provide:

  • a 1:2500 sketch plan
  • STAT plans
  • Traffic Management Plans (If TM is required)
  • written permission from existing utility if making a private connection
  • copies of works undertakers NRSWA qualifications.


The fee is £1,095, which includes the first 200m. There is an additional fee of £176 if the excavation is over 200m in length and for every 200m after.

How to pay

BACS payments

Account name: OCC - Licensing & Streetworks DCI
Sort code: 308012
Account number: 15190568

Card payments

We cannot process card payments ourselves. However, you can use the GOV.UK payment process for permits to occupy the road.

You must upload the completed application and your documents to our Section 50 licences contact form. Select 'card payment' on that form. Then, follow the instructions below.

  • Download Card payment for Section 50 licence (pdf format, 23 KB).
  • Visit GOV.UK
  • Type in your email address.
  • Upload the Card payment for Section 50 licence PDF under 'Application form'.
  • Click Details under 'Supporting documents'.
  • Tick the box 'OK, I'll submit all the documents by post instead' (you won't need to do this, but it will allow you to continue to pay).
  • Click Continue to pay fee
  • Type in the amount you need to pay and click Continue to payment.
  • Check the amount and they click Continue to WorldPay website.

How long it will take

Most applications are likely to be processed within two calendar months and we will then contact you to confirm our decision.

However, there will be occasions, particularly for more complex applications, where the council is unable to make a quick decision or may need more information to help reach a decision.

Warning The council is not liable for any delays arising to your project from a delay to making a decision on your application.

Choosing a contractor

A competent contractor will be able to assist you to complete the application form.

You will need to ensure that he or she has the relevant experience and knowledge of the Act.

They should show you they will use a site supervisor and operatives with the correct accreditation. But it is your responsibility to ensure that they have this accreditation.

If your contractor is reliable and produces quality work he should not have a problem guaranteeing e his works for the required two or three-year period.

Remember, that the licence places the responsibility on you to guarantee the street works and so you should ensure the same from your contractor.

Notifying other organisations

Prior to the licence being processed by Oxfordshire County Council, the applicant is required to notify all statutory undertakers about plans to undertake the works. Undertakers contact list (pdf format, 118Kb)

The statutory undertakers are obliged to identify whether their apparatus will be affected by the proposed street works.

The applicant should contact the Streetworks Team to establish if any other undertaker or relevant authorities have apparatus in the street i.e. other S50 Licence holders.

The applicant is required to inform the affected frontages of the work at least four weeks in advance of any activity. This could be achieved for instance by letter drop or public exhibition.

Completion of works

It is the responsibility of the applicant to inform the street authority of the completion of the reinstatement by the end of the following working day, stating whether the reinstatement is interim or permanent using the Notification of Completion of Works form (S50-R) (doc format)