Last edited 10 Nov 2017

Section 50 agreement

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Utilities and other bodies have statutory powers enabling them to 'install apparatus' under a public highway, except when the highway is a special road, such as a motorway, as specified under the Highways Act 1980.

Other persons or organisations wanting to install or maintain apparatus under a public highway (including verges, footways and carriageways) will require a Section 50 agreement (street works license), issued by the street authority (county or unitary council) under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA), the primary legislation governing licences for street works.

The ‘applicant’ for the licence is the person/company who will be holder of the licence and therefore responsible for the apparatus. A ‘Certificate of Title’ is required as proof of ownership if the applicant is also the property owner. A ‘Letter of Instruction’ is required from the property owner if the applicant is a contractor or third party. The letter must confirm ownership and consent for the licence application being made on their behalf.

The ‘works undertakers’ are those granted the Section 50 licence, responsible for carrying out the duties and responsibilities according to NRSWA. This includes a contractor being appointed who has the appropriate expertise backed up by accreditation, in addition to the works being carried out properly.

The licence can run for either a limited period of time or for an undetermined period. The landowner is responsible for ensuring the amendment of the licence if the land is sold to another party before the duration.

When the licence has been issued and a start date for the works has been confirmed, a Road Opening Notice should be applied for. The purpose of this notice is to book the road space required and to programme the works.

Any works carried out or apparatus placed before the licence has been issued or the Road Opening Notice submitted, will be subject to enforcement action by the street authority. If the necessary statutory duties and licence conditions are not met, the licence holder may incur financial penalties. No other person or organisation can have this liability delegated to them from the licence holder.

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