Highway licensing - skips, scaffolds, hoardings, materials and plant

Find out what you need a highway licence for, who can apply, and how to check if something has one.

Highway licences

The Highway Enforcement Team license and check any items placed on the public highway.

Anything placed on the highway is potentially dangerous. The council has a duty to protect the highway and keep it safe for all users. Placing items without having our permission is against the law. It can lead to us removing items and prosecuting you.

If you want to put things on the public highway you need to get a licence from us first. This includes putting things on:

  • pavements
  • roads
  • highway verges

Professional scaffolders, skip companies, builders and suppliers of materials should already know this. We recommend householders make sure that these companies have a licence before allowing deliveries or works to start. This is also true of things they have ordered for their own use.

What you need a licence for

The most common things that need a licence are:

  • scaffolds
  • skips
  • hoardings
  • cranes or mobile elevated work platforms
  • containers, welfare units and portaloos
  • hippo bags or other skip bags covered by a materials and plant licence

Building materials and plant also need a licence, this includes materials:

  • bought directly from builders’ merchants
  • ordered or used by contractors

The licence holder needs to bag or contain any sand, soil, gravel or other loose material. If they don't, we may bill them for clearing any drains affected.

Limits on licences

In some cases, there are limits on who can take out a licence. For example, only specialist companies can take out a scaffold, hoarding, skip or container licence. You need to have £10 million of public liability insurance.

These licences are usually dealt with by the respective companies or, for large projects, by the main contractors.

If you wish to place small amounts of building materials on the public highway, you can apply for a materials and plant licence.

Items placed in parking bays, within controlled parking zones, also need a parking bay suspension permit. You need to get the permit before we can issue a highway licence.

Apply for skip and scaffolding licences

Use our online highway licensing system to apply for skip and scaffolding licences.

Apply for other licence types

Find application forms for other highway licences, including:

  • hoarding
  • materials and plant
  • containers
  • cranes

Licence conditions

You can read our licensing conditions:

Rules for skips, scaffolding and hoarding on the highway

Skips on the highway

All skips on the highway need to have the name of the skip company and their 24-hour contact number visible on them.

For safety reasons, the sides of the skip which face traffic must:

  • be painted yellow
  • have 2 areas of reflective markings

Scaffolding and hoarding on the highway

Every scaffold and hoarding on the highway has to display both the name of the contractor and a 24-hour contact number.

All upright poles on the highway should have:

  • reflective tape fitted, or be painted to aid visibility
  • yellow foam protection

Some items may need to have lights.

Check if something has a licence

You can use the One Network website to check whether a scaffold, skip, hoarding, container or crane has a licence to be on the highway.

To report an unlicensed item that is causing an obstruction, complete our obstructions on the public highway report form.

For more information, send an email to street.licensing@brighton-hove.gov.uk.