Permit scheme for road works and street works

Last updated: 28 April 2022

4. Permit general

4.1. Requirement to obtain a permit

Any promoter who wishes to carry out an activity on a specified street must obtain a permit from the permit authority.

This will allow the promoter to carry out the specified activity:

  • at the specified location
  • between the start and end times shown (if appropriate) and subject to any conditions that may be attached or required

All of this information will be included in the permit.

4.2. Exempt activities

The following activities do not require a permit:

  • activities carried out following the granting of a street works licence issued under section 50 of NRSWA
  • third Party Activities e.g. repair to private apparatus
  • activities carried out by Parish, Town or District Councils where a Section 50 licence or licence to excavate has been applied for
  • traffic census surveys
  • the maintenance of fire hydrants by fire service vehicles provided the activity is undertaken outside traffic sensitive periods
  • pole testing not requiring excavation. All pole testing involving excavation requires registration and will need a permit before the works commence as would be the case with other excavations. However, in all circumstances the work must be registered using Section 70 (3) under NRSWA for the purpose of reinstatement inspections within 10 days of completion

4.2.1. Continuity of Streetworks register

For continuity of the register, promoters of activities not requiring a permit are nevertheless encouraged to apply for a permit to ensure that road space is available.

This will ensure that their work will not be interrupted by other activities for which a permit has been granted. No fee will be charged in the granting of a permit for exempt activities.

If, during the course of the activity, this situation changes, then all work must cease, the highway re-opened for all users and an application submitted to the Permit Authority for the appropriate permit.

The application for an optional permit will be the same as for other permits and as detailed in Section 9.

4.3. One application per street

Separate permits will be required for each USRN to which an activity relates.

4.4. Activities covering several streets

Where a specified activity as part of the same project involves a number of specified streets, a separate PAA or permit will be required for each street. All permits granted shall be cross-referenced to all related applications and, where streets not included in the scheme are involved, the appropriate notice will also be cross referenced.

Fees for specified activities which involve more than one PAA or permit will be subject to a discount, as per section 13.5.

4.5. Multiple phase and linked activities

Each phase of an activity will require a separate permit.

Each permit must relate to the original activity by using the original activity reference number used in the first and subsequent phases (e.g. interim to permanent reinstatement phases as well as any remedial works phases should they be required).

  • A phase of an activity is a period of continuous occupation of the street (whether or not work is taking place for the whole time) between the start and completion of the works.
  • A promoter must clarify that an activity is to be carried out in phases on the initial PAA or permit application.
  • For a major activity, the activity reference number must be used within the PAA (as per section 6.2).
  • Linked activities carried out at separate locations in a street must be treated as belonging to the same set of works. All works in these circumstances must be related and operationally dependant upon each other.
  • Unconnected activities carried out by the same promoter in one street must not be treated as parts, or phases, of a single activity.
  • Customer connections associated with the installation of a new main or cable run, or the replacement or renewal of existing assets, will be considered to be linked activities when the work is completed as a single occupancy of the street. If the installation of customer connections is undertaken at a later date then the promoter shall apply for a separate permit.
  • Even if an activity involving more than one street forms part of one project in management and contractual terms, separate permits and PAAs must be obtained for each street or USRN.

4.6. Remedial works

Remedial works are required to put right defects identified in accordance with the Specification for Reinstatement of Openings in the Highway (SROH), the Code of Practice for Inspections and NRSWA Regulations, and will require a new permit.

This new activity phase must be cross-referenced to the permit for the original activity by using the original activity reference, as per section 4.5.

4.7. Interrupted activities

If an activity is interrupted because, for example, the promoter needs some specialist plant or apparatus other than that originally planned, it is the promoter’s responsibility to notify the Permit Authority and agree the appropriate action.

If the permit authority is satisfied that the excavation can remain open whilst the equipment is obtained, then a variation will be required and an extension to the permit granted.

However, where it is considered that the opening should be reinstated and the road returned to full traffic use then the promoter will need to apply for a further, chargeable, permit in order to complete the work at a later date.

4.8. Cross boundary activities

Where a project with activities in more than one street straddles the boundary between the permit authority and an adjacent permit authority, separate permit applications, including any PAA, should be submitted to both authorities.

Where a project with activities in more than one street straddles the boundary between the permit authority and an adjacent street authority, separate permit applications, including any PAA, should be submitted to the permit authority and prescribed notices should be submitted to the street authority in line with regulations.

A single project reference should be included on applications and all notices so that both authorities can consider the impact and co-ordinate the activities together.

4.9. Collaborative working

The permit authority encourages collaborative working between promoters for street works and works for road purposes.

Where two or more activity promoters decide to enter into such arrangements, one must take on the role of the primary promoter with overall responsibility for the activities, and will be the point of contact in communications with the permit authority.

The secondary promoter(s) retain the same responsibility for submitting permit applications for work to be carried out by them, or on their behalf. The Permit Authority will grant permits to all the promoters involved, not just the primary promoter. The fees will be discounted, as per section 13.5, to reflect the collaborative approach, subject to all criteria being met.

The secondary promoter(s) will install their apparatus in the same trench. The primary promoter will then backfill and reinstate the trench.

The Registration notices must be submitted by the primary promoter and the primary promoter will be responsible for the reinstatement. The primary promoter must detail the other promoters involved and the scope of the collaborative working in the initial application.

The primary promoter must also ensure that estimates of works duration are agreed and/or confirmed with the secondary promoter(s) when submitting PAAs and/or permit applications. This is necessary in order to comply with the overrun charging requirements in the permit and NRSWA regulations. Only those registration notices submitted by the promoter responsible for the reinstatement are required to show the actual inspection units attributable to the street works.

The other promoters in these circumstances must indicate a ‘No Excavation’ status on the Section 74 Work Stop Notice. Notice text within the Work Stop notice must indicate that reinstatements have been registered by the promoter responsible for the reinstatement.

This process may vary in line with future amendments to electronic communications and any Electronic Management System in use.

4.9.1. Working together

A similar approach to discounted permits will be followed for multi promoters sharing road space (e.g. road closures, shared traffic management), although each individual promoter should apply for a permit in the normal way.

4.10. Reinstatement

If a permanent reinstatement cannot be completed during the first phase, the activity shall be regarded as having two separate phases. Under the provisions of NRSWA, this will mean two separate works/activities for Section 74 charging.

Each phase is from the start date in the relevant permit to the completion of either interim or permanent reinstatement and the removal of all surplus materials and equipment from site.

4.11. Charges for overrunning street works or activities

Charges for overrunning activities, under Section 74 of NRSWA, will be made alongside the permit scheme, as per Section 1.5.

These regulations incorporate the process of setting and modifying the duration of the activity through the permit application, approval and variation processes, with the option to treat all or parts of an extension to the duration as a chargeable overrun

4.12. Permit duration and validity

The permit will allow an activity to be carried out for a specified duration between the start and end date on the permit. A promoter working outside those dates will not have a valid permit and would be potentially committing an offence. If the activity cannot commence on the proposed start date and a variation is required, the promoter must inform the Permit Authority no later than the preceding day by telephone.

There is no automatic extension of the permit end date in these circumstances and if the promoter believes that the work could still be completed before the permit end date then they can begin the work on a subsequent day having submitted a start of works notice under Section 74 of NRSWA. Otherwise, the promoter must apply for a variation to the permit. If the permit Authority has reason to believe the activity did not commence on the start date and has not been informed by telephone that the activity would not start on the agreed start date, then a variation to the end date may be refused.

The permit authority may or may not agree to a variation depending on the circumstances, and if not, the promoter may be subject to Section 74 overrun charges, fixed penalty notice or prosecution.

The permit will not be valid before the start date on the permit and will cease to be valid once the end date has passed unless a variation is granted.

4.13. Early start

A promoter may request an early start before or after applying for a PAA or a permit. Where a permit has been granted and an early start has been agreed by the permit authority, the promoter shall submit a variation to the permit, or in the case of a PAA, include the revised dates on the application for the subsequent permit.

An early start reference number will be issued by the permit authority and must be quoted on the permit application or permit variation application. Where an early start has been agreed before the PAA or permit is applied for, there will be no additional charges applied to the permit fee, however, where a variation application is made to request an early start after the permit has been granted or deemed, a variation charge will apply.

Requests for early starts may or may not be agreed by the permit authority at their discretion, and it is the responsibility of the promoter to satisfy the permit authority as to the necessity for any proposed early start.

4.14. Application requirements

All applications for a permit must include the information indicated in Section 7.