A scaffold or hoarding licence is required to use scaffolding or another structure to do building or maintenance work on or over a highway.

A licence is issued for the occupation of the highway only. The safety responsibility of the scaffold lies with the scaffold company. This includes design, erection, dismantling, ties to buildings, lighting, netting and foundations.

Scaffolding or hoarding won't usually be authorised:

  • On a carriageway or back street. Each scaffold or hoarding will be erected on the footway. Only in exceptional circumstances will scaffold or hoardings be permitted in such locations.
  • On a highway that has a traffic regulation order restricting the parking of vehicles on that section of highway.

Applying for a licence

Companies who want a scaffold licence, which is valid for up to four weeks, must  register with us (doc / 60 KB). It is free to join the register. Registration does not give you licence to place a scaffold on the highway, it only proves to us that your company is a reputable business. To apply for a licence, you must complete an  application form (doc / 265 KB) providing all required information and return it to your local area highways office. A decision will usually be made within three working days of receiving the application. 

If your scaffold will affect street cleaning, car parking or refuse collection - particularly in back streets - contact your district council before applying to us for a licence. Where proposed scaffold/ hoarding takes up highway space where there is an order relating to on-street parking charging, the applicant must reimburse the relevant authority for loss of income. An agreement must be obtained before a licence is issued.

We do not charge VAT on a scaffold licence. However, if the skip company you are dealing with is VAT registered they are required to charge you VAT at the standard rate for both the skip licence and any associated administrative charges. For costs, see our  list of fees and charges for 2016-17 (pdf / 253 KB).

You can  view our procedure for scaffolding on the highway here (pdf / 403 KB).

Further information

If there is not time for our inspectors to schedule a site visit into their routine inspections, this will incur an additional early start fee.

Please see our  list of fees and charges for 2016-17 (pdf / 253 KB) for full licence fees.

When an early start fee would be applied to immediate licences

See this table detailing when an early start fee would be applied to immediate licences:

Date licence requested* Time of correspondence: midnight - 8.29am

Earliest day that early start fee is inapplicable

Time of correspondence: 8.30am - midnight

Earliest day that early start fee is inapplicable

Monday Thursday Friday
Tuesday Friday Saturday
Wednesday Saturday Tuesday
Thursday Tuesday Wednesday
Friday Wednesday Thursday
Saturday Thursday Thursday
Sunday Thursday Thursday

*The date of the request is when we receive it via email, phone call or eform.

A scaffold/hoardings licence is valid for up to four weeks. If you require scaffold/hoardings to be in situ longer than this you must apply for an extension to a scaffold licence, which carries an additional cost for every additional four-week period.

To apply for an extension to an existing scaffold/hoardings licence, complete and return the  application form (doc / 59 KB) at least three working days before the current licence expires.

See our  list of fees and charges for 2016-17 (pdf / 253 KB) for full scaffold/hoardings licence fees.

If there is less than 1.5 metres of footway available for pedestrians, the inspector may need to obtain further advice regarding traffic management, which could include some road space being coned-off and allocated to pedestrians. If required, you, as applicant will be responsible for maintaining this.

Scaffold licences are not issued over roads (including back streets) except by prior special permission from an inspector.

The inspector will consider site specific traffic management risks and may require a detailed traffic management plan, including signing and guarding. For this reason, scaffold licences over the road attract individually identified fees.

Any scaffold on the highway that does not comply with our terms and conditions will incur extra inspection charges.

If the issue is not immediately resolved, we will instigate legal proceedings against the licence holder. If the scaffold is dangerous, we will arrange for its removal. Any costs will be recovered from the licence holder.