Skips, scaffolds, hoardings, materials and plant

You need a licence to use a lot of common building aids by a public highway.

Highway licence application forms and conditions

You can apply for skip and scaffolding licences by using the council's online application system.

Please go to Objective Forms where you can register. Once registered, you can apply and pay online.

If you want to take out a licence yourself for materials, containers or hoarding you will have to make a written application and pay a licence fee. You can get forms and payment details by calling us on 01273 291 701.

In some cases there are limits on who can or can’t take out a licence. For example, only persons with 10 million pounds of public liability insurance can take out a scaffold, hoarding, skip or container licence. These are normally dealt with by the respective specialist companies or main contractors on large projects.

Rules for skips, scaffolding and other items on the highway

The most common things that need to be licensed are:

  • Hippobags or other skip-bags (covered by a materials/plant licence)
  • building materials and plant (both those bought direct from builders’ merchants and materials / items ordered or used by contractors). Note that any sand, soil, gravel or other loose material has to be bagged or contained. Failing to do this can result in the responsible person being billed for clearing any drains affected
  • containers and welfare units
  • skips
  • scaffolds
  • hoardings
  • cranes or mobile elevated work platforms

All skips on the highway need to be marked with the name of the skip company and their 24-hour contact number. For safety reasons, each end of the skip facing traffic must be painted yellow and have two areas of reflective markings.

Every scaffold and hoarding on the highway has to display a brightly coloured licence, visible from street level. They also have to be identified with both the name of the contractor and a 24 hour contact number. In addition, all upright poles on the highway should have reflective tape fitted or be painted to aid visibility. Some, but not all, items will need to have lights.

Items place in controlled parking zones will also require a parking bay suspension before a licence is issued.

Regular visits by the council's Highway Enforcement Officers take place over the city to check that sites are licensed and that licensees are operating under the agreed conditions.

For more information, please phone 01273 291 701.

Highway licences

Items placed on the public highway by contractors and householders are overseen by the Highway Enforcement Team.

The team licenses, monitors and controls scaffolding, skips, hoardings, plant, materials, containers and welfare units placed upon the public highway.

Anything placed on the highway is potentially dangerous. The council has a duty to enforce the Highways Act 1980.

Placing items without having the advance permission of the council is against the law and can lead to the removal of items and prosecution.

The Highway Enforcement Team only deals with the public highway. It has no authority over private or council property.

Contractors and householders who want to put things upon the public highway (including pavements, roads and highway verges) need to have a licence from us first.

All professional companies (scaffolders, skip companies, builders and suppliers of materials) should already know this. However, householders are advised to always make sure that a licence has been obtained before allowing deliveries or works to start. This is also true of things they have ordered for their own use.

Checking that a licence is already in place is important, since unlicensed objects can be removed and impounded, sometimes without warning. This can obviously interrupt or delay works.

It can also involve extra expense should the council seek to recover the public money spent removing and storing / disposing of the objects involved.

If you want to check that an item is licensed you can ask your contractor to show you the licence, quote you the licence number and check with this office.