Permit scheme for road works and street works

Last updated: 28 April 2022

11. Review, variation and revocation of permits and permit conditions

11.1. Permit Authority powers

Within the Permit Scheme, the Permit Authority has the power, under Regulation 15 of The Traffic Management Permit Scheme (England) Regulations 2007, to review, vary or revoke permits and permit conditions on its own or a promoter’s initiative.

However, the Permit Authority is under no obligation to let activities run beyond the permitted period and any activities which exceed the allowable duration will potentially be subject to overrun charges under Section 74 of NRSWA.

11.2. General principles

Changing circumstance, for either a promoter or for the Permit Authority may require permits and/or conditions attached to them to be modified. The promoter might request a change if new information comes to light, an unexpected event occurs or discoveries are made on site meaning that they need to alter their original plans or duration of the activity.

The promoter must submit an application for a permit variation and, if approved, the Permit Authority will grant a new permit incorporating the variation. The Permit Authority may take the initiative if, for example, an unexpected event on the network occurs so that planned activities, or those activities already under way, have to be reconsidered.

The Permit Authority will discuss with a promoter whether the promoter will submit a permit variation application or whether the Permit Authority will grant a new permit based on an authority imposed variation, incorporating any changes. No fee will be charged for a variation imposed by the Permit Authority

11.3. Avoidance of criminal offence

It is important that variations are sought when changes are needed as working without a permit or outside the conditions imposed is a criminal offence.

11.4. Changes to a provisional advance authorisation

A Provisional Advance Authorisation cannot be varied, however, the Permit Authority will allow for a reasonable adjustment of start and end dates when the Permit Application is made. If a full permit has not yet been granted, the promoter should discuss the proposed changes with the Permit Authority to ascertain whether a revised PAA is required or whether the changes are acceptable for a Permit to be applied for.

11.5. Timing of variation

Applications for variations may be made at any time after the permit has been granted and any time before or during the activity. Application for variations cannot be made after the end date has passed.

11.6. Electronic application for a variation

Where the existing permit has more than 20% of its duration or more than two working days to run, whichever is the longer, the promoter must apply for a variation electronically via the Electronic Management System.

Promoters are strongly encouraged to telephone the Permit Authority prior to submitting an electronic variation regardless of the remaining duration on the existing permit.

11.7. Telephone application for a variation

Where the criteria in Section 11.5.1 is not met, the promoter must first telephone the Permit Authority to determine whether the authority is prepared to grant a variation and then must apply electronically via the Electronic Management System, if the authority agrees. In any case, a permit variation will not be granted if the end date has already passed.

11.8. Electronic systems failure

In the event of an electronic systems failure, applications must be sent another way, for example fax or post. These alternatives are the same as with the NRSWA notification systems.

Promoters are strongly encouraged to email wherever possible and must notify the Permit Authority of the electronic system failure within one working day. Should the promoter fail to inform the Permit Authority of such systems failures within the specified timescale the permit/ variation applications may be subject to a fixed penalty notice.

11.9. Variations for multiple excavations and immediate activities

Activities can be particularly subject to change where a promoter has to make several excavations or registerable openings in the street to locate a fault. An example is where gas has migrated along a duct to emerge from the ground some distance from the actual leak.

A series of excavations or openings have to be made from where the symptoms are apparent to trace the point of the fault. In normal circumstances every new excavation would require a permit variation. The arrangements below aim to avoid a succession of variations as each hole is dug. Nonetheless it is important that the Permit Authority knows what is going on so that it can coordinate and manage these and other activities in the area.

As immediate activities, the promoter will submit the first permit application containing the location of the initial excavation or opening within two hours of starting work.

  • The promoter will have to apply for a permit variation for the first excavation in each further 50 metre band away from the original hole in the same street, i.e. 50-100 metres, 100-150 metres etc. Standard variation charges can be applied, although the Permit Authority may opt to waive such charges as a general rule, or for particular cases. Separate variations would be required for bands going in oppositedirections.
  • If the search carries into a different street, or a new USRN (including if the street changes to a different authority), then a separate permit application is needed.
  • If the promoter cannot contact the authority by telephone it should record that and send the message electronically.

11.10. Information required for a variation application

Applications for permit variations must contain the following information as applicable:

  • Any agreement reference number provided by the Permit Authority.
  • The revised timescale.
  • Any change to the description of the activity.
  • A revised scope of works.
  • Any change to the method of excavation.
  • Any variation to the depth of the excavation from less than 1.5m to more than 1.5m
  • Any changes to the conditions, if applicable.
  • Change to Traffic Management
  • Need for a TTRO when not thought to be required
  • Any change to the location of the actual excavation to that stated on the original application.

11.11. Variation or review of permit by permit authority due to unforeseen circumstances

The Permit Authority may review the permit and associated conditions in the event of unforeseen circumstances having a significant disruptive effect at the location of the activity.

The Permit Authority’s policy regarding the circumstances in which it will review, vary or revoke permits on its own initiative is given in Appendix D. No fee will apply for permit variations initiated by the Permit Authority unless, at the same time, the Activity Promoter applies for permit variations which are not the result of the circumstances causing the Permit Authority’s action.

11.12. Reaching agreement

If the promoter initiates a permit variation the promoter must first telephone the Permit Authority to determine whether the authority is prepared to grant a variation as per Section 11.5.

If the Permit Authority considers a variation necessary then it should contact the Activity Promoter to discuss the best way of dealing with the situation whilst meeting the coordination duties and other statutory requirements of those involved.

Good coordination and cooperation between promoters and the Permit Authority will minimise the times that the authority needs to vary permits or their conditions. This will be in the interests of all parties.

11.13. If an agreement cannot be reached

If agreement cannot be reached, the Permit Authority may issue an authority imposed variation on the terms it considers reasonable, but the promoter would have the option to invoke the dispute resolution procedure.

11.14. Review of permit due to non-compliance by the promoter

If the Permit Authority considers that an Activity Promoter is failing to comply with the conditions of a permit, it may issue an FPN or revoke the permit. Before revoking a permit, the Permit Authority will contact the Activity Promoter to inform them of its intention and initiate a discussion.

11.15. Working after permit has been provoked

An Activity Promoter will be committing an offence if it continues an activity when a permit has been revoked.