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Licence for structures over, along and under the highway

The Highways Act 1980 defines the highway projections as:

Section 177 (Canopies, balconies etc)

Canopies and balconies that overhang the highway require a licence under Section 177 of the Highways Act. This also includes other apparatus such as air conditioning units.

Section 178 (Cables and rails over the highway)

Placing cables or rails over the highway (typically a power or water connection to a garage or outbuilding) requires the permission of the Highway Authority. This allows us to ensure any connections are made in a safe way that will not affect refuse collections and other vehicles.

Eligibility criteria

  • Statutory Undertakers as defined by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 have a right to carry out works in the highway, although they do have a duty to coordinate these works with the Street Authority
  • We may also license other contractors to work in the highway
  • Individuals and private bodies will be required to provide evidence of an ability to meet their liability by way of public liability insurance at levels set out in Sunderland City Council's standard conditions. You should note that your exposure to claim is without limitation

Regulation summary

You can access a summary and the relevant legislation in the 'External links' below.

Application evaluation process

The standard terms of licences and other consents require applicants to undertake works at their own expense and indemnify Sunderland City Council from any liability that may arise as a consequence of these works or activities.

Please contact us in the first instance.

Application fee

Section 177 licence£231.50 per street
Section 178 licence£231.50 per street

Will 'tacit consent' apply?

Tacit consent does not apply to applications to licences for structures over, along and under the highway as the council must ensure that, should they be minded to grant an application:

  • The applicant is a fit and proper person
  • Works being carried out will not adversely affect the structure of the highway or pose an unnecessary inconvenience to highway users

Our target completion period for applications for licences is 14 working days from the time when all documentation and fees have been submitted.  If you have not heard from us within this period, please contact us.

Apply online

We would strongly suggest that you contact us in the first instance.

Apply to place a structure projecting over or under the highway

Apply to change a structure projecting over or under the highway

Public register

We keep a register of excavations in the highway, which is available for inspection on request.

Further information can be requested by contacting our City and neighbourhood team.

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