The New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 allows utility companies, the "statutory undertakers", to carry out work in the highway in respect of their statutory functions in line with national rules. Anyone else must obtain our permission before carrying out excavations within our highway network. The type of consent required will depend upon the nature and impact of the work.
The need for consent is largely determined under the national street works co-ordination code of practice, issued by the Department for Transport. The full Code of Practice should be consulted, but below is an extract from paragraph 7.3.4 of the code:
Works promoters must register, or notice, all works that:
- Involve the breaking up or resurfacing any street, (see below for pole testing and coring involving excavation).
- Involve opening the carriageway or cycleway of traffic-sensitive streets at traffic-sensitive times.
- Require any form of temporary traffic control as defined in the Code of Practice for Safety at Street Works and Road Works.
- Reduce the lanes available on a carriageway of three or more lanes.
- Require a temporary traffic regulation order or notice, or the suspension of pedestrian facilities.
- Require a reduction in the width of the existing carriageway of a traffic sensitive street at a traffic-sensitive time
Works promoters do not need to register the following works in advance. However, where reinstatement is carried out it must be registered within ten days of completion.
- Traffic census surveys - because disclosure prior to a census can encourage a change in normal traffic flows.
- Pole testing involving excavation - does not require registration in advance, unless one or more of rules 2-6 above, apply.
- Core holes - not exceeding 150 mm in diameter do not require registration in advance, unless one or more of rules 2-6 above apply.
- Road markings - that are not part of a larger set of works and do not reduce the width of the carriageway, as they do not involve breaking up of the highway
Information about current or planned roadworks
Details about current or planned works can be viewed on a map on our roadworks page. The search field in the top right-hand corner of the map can be used to narrow down the works by dates and location. If you still have queries after looking at the map, please contact the street works team using the details further down this page.
Works by developers
The requirements set out here apply equally to developers as to anyone else. In particular, the existence of an agreement to undertake highway works as part of the development (such as under S278 Highways Act 1980), the granting of planning permission or the absence of a requirement to obtain planning permission do not provide any exemption from the requirement to obtain a licence before undertaking any works in the highway and to comply with the conditions of that licence.
Equally, the granting of a licence for highway works does not provide an exemption from any planning or building regulations requirements which may exist.
Anyone other than a statutory undertaker working in the highway must apply for a licence; there are no exceptions to this, and we are not obliged to issue a licence. The type of licence required will depend on the nature of the work. However, to simplify the process, the application form is the same regardless of the nature of the work and can be downloaded below. In either case, a fee is payable; the current fees can be found on our fees and charges page and within the application form.
Road opening notice
If you just need to carry out excavations in the highway and no apparatus (such as cables, pipes or sewers) is involved, you will need to complete a Road Opening Notice. Section 171 of the Highways Act 1980 covers this sort of work, and the procedure and information required is set out on the application form.
Section 50 Licence
This is governed by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (section 50 and schedule 3). The licence allows that person to be treated as a statutory undertaker for the purposes of the legislation and bound by the same rules.
The fees charged depend on a range of factors, such as how many units of inspection the proposed work would constitute (the definition of a unit of inspection can be found in the national code of practice for inspections). There are also penalties for non-compliance, just as there are for utility companies.
Utility companies, developers and others sometimes need to find out technical information about a street. This might include the Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) and adoption status. Much of this information can be accessed at www.findmystreet.co.uk and using the map to zoom in to the required street.
Streets with special engineering difficulty (SED)
The New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (Section 63 and Schedule 4 for roads and Section 88 for bridges), together with Appendix D to the Street works co-ordination code of practice, require advance consultation with the highway or bridge authority where works in streets with Special Engineering Difficulty (SED) are proposed.
If you are intending to carry out this kind of work, return the completed SED consultation form to us at least 20 working days before you intend to start work.
Note that this is in addition to any notice period required under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
Temporary traffic management
Highway works often require temporary traffic controls, the nature of which will depend on the nature, duration and location of the works. The Government's guidance on safety at street works and road works gives detailed guidance on what is likely to be appropriate in different circumstances, and should be adhered to.
In many cases, "Stop/Go" boards will be sufficient to control traffic. Whilst the Council must be told what type of temporary traffic management is proposed as part of the process for applying for the street works licence (or informing us of the works, in the case of a public utility company), the Council's advance consent for Stop/Go boards is not normally required, although we reserve the right to issue directions. We have put together some useful for when this form of traffic control is likely to be appropriate. This should be read in conjunction with the guidance on safety at street works and road works.
Where temporary traffic signals are required to control traffic, all works promoters should be aware of the national regulations and guidelines relating to the use of temporary traffic signals, as well as Gateshead Council's own relating to street works. As highway authority, the Council has statutory powers of intervention to ensure the efficient operation of the Council's highway network, including in relation to the deployment and operation of temporary traffic signals.
Following discussions with the emergency services, we have introduced new to assist works promoters in determining the extent of any consultation required in different types of circumstances. To improve consistency and ensure compliance with our own duties, the Council will now inform the emergency services directly when we consider it necessary. Works promoters will still need to address any concerns they may raise as well as consult all other stakeholders.
If you think the work you are proposing to undertake is likely to require some form of traffic control (whether temporary traffic signals or Stop/Go boards) you will need to complete a separate form for this purpose in advance. Please visit our traffic signals page where the appropriate guidance and forms can be found. (Statutory undertakers may be able to notify or apply to us via EToN instead - you will be aware if this is the case.)
Temporary Traffic Regulation Order
Applications must be received 12 weeks before the anticipated start date and be submitted with a plan showing the location of the TTRO, along with any proposed Traffic Management Plans, including any diversion routes. For emergency situations the form is to be submitted within 24 hours of the closure requirement.
To apply for a temporary suspension, or introduction of a Temporary Traffic Regulation order relating to the following:
- road / footpath closures
- width/height/weight/length restrictions
- one way
- banned turn
- restricted access
- speed limit and parking or loading restrictions
Gateshead Civic Centre
Anyone carrying out works in the highway has a legal duty to leave the surface in good order ("reinstatement") and these rules apply to the utility companies as well. Where this is not done properly, we have the power to require things to be put right.
Such defects are often obvious straight away and are quickly put right. But sometimes they take longer to become apparent (such as when a trench in the road sinks). Where we spot these defects, they will report them and arrange for them to be rectified. But reports of defective reinstatements often reach us from third parties (such as the police or members of the public).
If you see what seems to be a defective reinstatement (such as a sunken trench in the road) you can report it us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "Defect" in the subject line and remember to tell us exactly what you have seen and exactly where you saw it (for example, the house number it is outside and the street name) so that our inspector can find it. We will then investigate and do our best to get it put right as soon as we can.
Tacit consent does not apply to street works.
Unless you are a statutory undertaker (or their agent) which is covered by other legislation, it is in the public interest that we should actively consider your application and grant consent before work starts. This relates to proposed traffic management and associated arrangements as well as to the works themselves.
Please contact us if you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, although you should have regard to any timescales indicated on our application forms or guidance notes.
Street works permit scheme
We have a permit scheme in place. Visit Street works permit scheme for further information.
Parking and Streetworks
Highways and Waste
0191 433 3092