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Street works

Gas, electricity, telecommunication and water supply companies are allowed to carry out work in the highway without getting permission from the Council. These companies are also known as 'Statutory Undertakers'.

If you are not a gas, electricity, telecommunication or water supply company you must get permission from South Tyneside Council before carrying out excavations on the highway.

The type of consent you need will depend on the nature and impact of the work you want to carry out.

The need for consent is mainly determined under the GOV.UK: Street works coordination.

The full Code of Practice should be consulted. Below is an extract of the Code of Practice referring to included and excluded works:

Work promoters (gas, electricity, telecommunication and water supply companies) must register, or notice, all works that:

  1. involve the breaking up or resurfacing of any street
  2. involve opening the carriageway or cycle of traffic-sensitive street at traffic-sensitive times
  3. require any form of temporary traffic control as defined in the Code of Practice for Safety at Street Works and Road Works
  4. reduce the lanes available on a carriageway of three or more lanes
  5. require a temporary traffic regulation order or notice, or the suspension of pedestrian facilities

Work promoters do no need to register the following works in advance. However, where reinstatement is carried out it must be registered within 10 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 150mm 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

Works by developers

The requirements above also apply to developers.

Existing agreements to carry out highway works as part of the development, the granting of planning permission, or if there isn't a need to get planning permission, does not mean you are exempt from needing a licence before carrying out works in the highway and you must comply with the conditions of that licence.

If you are granted a licence for highway work you are not exempt from any planning or building regulations requirements which may exist.

Road opening notice

If you need to carry out excavations in the highway and no apparatus such as cables, pipes or sewers are involved, you will need to complete a road opening notice.

There is a fee for this which changes from time to time. 

For more information please see Highways Act 1980.

Complete the road opening notice809KB

Section 50 licence 

You must apply for a licence if you want to place new, or work on existing apparatus (eg cables, pipes or sewers) in the highway. This does not apply to certain gas, electricity, telecommunications and water supply companies. 

This licence allows you to have the same rules and rights as gas, electricity, telecommunications and water supply companies.

We are not obliged to grant a Section 50 licence and there is a charge for it. The amount changes depending on a range of factors such as how many units of inspection the proposed work would create. The definition of a unit of inspection can be found at national code of practice for inspections GOV.UK: Street works coordination.

The total fee for excavations that are less than 200metres in length is £723.

There are also penalties for non-compliance, just as there are for gas, electricity, telecommunication and water supply companies.

All completed Section 50 licences should be emailed to

Apply for a Section 50 licence800KB

Temporary traffic management

Highway works often involve temporary traffic controls which depend on the nature, duration and location of the works. For information on what temporary traffic controls would be appropriate visit GOV.UK: Guidance on safety at street works and road works

When applying for a street works licence or letting us know of the works if you are a gas, electricity, telecommunication or water supply company, you must tell the Council what type of temporary traffic management you propose to use.

Stop/Go boards

In many cases, 'Stop/Go' boards will be enough to control traffic.

Advanced consent from the Council for Stop/Go boards is not normally needed but we reserve the right to issue directions.

For more information visit GOV.UK: Guidance on safety at street works and road works

Temporary traffic lights

You may need to use temporary traffic lights for more significant or complex works. 

If you think you will need temporary traffic lights when carrying out works on the highway, you will need to ask permission from the Council.

All completed forms should be emailed to

Request permission for temporary traffic lights467KB                                                                                           

Defective reinstatements

Anyone carrying out work in the highway must leave the surface in good order.

Some defects are often obvious straight away and are quickly put right, but sometimes they take longer to become apparent (eg when a trench in the road sinks). If any faults in the highway are seen by a Council officer, they will be reported and they will arrange for them to be fixed.

If you see any defective reinstatements such as a sunken trench in the road, you can report it to us at

Please remember to tell us exactly what you have seen and where you saw it (eg the house number it is outside of and the street name) so that we can easily find it. We will then investigate the problem and try to fix it as soon as possible.

Does tacit consent apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to street works including proposed traffic management, associated arrangements and the works themselves. It is in the public interest that the Council should actively consider your application and grant consent before works starts (unless you are a gas, electricity, telecommunications or water supply company).

If you have not heard from us within 10 days please contact

For more information

For more information or if you need to discuss a particular issue, please email or call 0191 427 7000.

Street works permit scheme

South Tyneside Council is proposing to move to a system of permits.

For more information see Proposed street works permit scheme.

Contact the Street works team

South Shields Town Hall & Civic Offices
Westoe Road
South Shields
Tyne and Wear
NE33 2RL

Tel: 0191 427 7000

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