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Temporary excavations (permit to dig)

To apply for a permit to dig, please read the information below:


What is a permit to dig?   Back to top

A permit to dig can be given to contractors wishing to open the highway for a variety of reasons, such as for:

  • Trial holes
  • Works on private land that require the excavation of highway for 'tie-in' purposes
  • Construction works for a vehicle access crossing point
  • Placing or maintaining of apparatus

Permits are only given to the person carrying out the works, not to the customer requesting them.

If you are unsure whether a permit is needed please email trafficandnetwork@staffordshire.gov.uk.



Fees   Back to top

  • £263 per street in an unclassified street and not in a pedestrianised zone
  • £379 per street in a classified street (A, B, C) or in a pedestrianised zone.
  • Plus £180 for each additional 200m length of road.

Fast track application

We will aim to get your permit to you within 20 working days. However we can process an application with a minimum of 5 days notice, there is an additional charge of £59 for this service.


A refund minus a fee of £110 per permit is given if a permit is fully processed but works are cancelled before they were due to start (must be cancelled the working day before the proposed start date). No refund is payable if the permit is cancelled after the proposed works start date and inspections have been scheduled.



Application conditions   Back to top

Section 171 of the Highways Act 1980

  1. No excavations shall be carried out in the highway without the prior approval of the highway Network Manager or their representative. To commence works on the highway without written permission is an offence under The Highways Act 1980 and may result in prosecution. The permit holder must be able to provide a copy of the permission if requested on site by a highway officer or police constable.

  2. The applicant must have the minimum public liability insurance cover of £5,000,000 for any one claim with no limit to the number of claims, proof of which shall be required. The insurance must cover the full period that the permission covers works on the highway including the reinstatement guarantee period. The highway authority must be notified immediately of any changes to or termination of a policy that may affect this insurance requirement.

  3. The applicant shall indemnify the county council against any liability, loss, claim or proceeding arising under the statute or common law in respect of the excavation, reinstatement, signing, lighting, guarding, traffic management or other activity associated to the works on the highway.

  4. The applicant must be accredited in accordance with HAUC and all works and reinstatements must be undertaken by the NRSWA qualified person(s) as specified on the application form. Proof of this accreditation must be available for inspection if requested by a highway officer or police constable. The permanent reinstatement must comply with the HAUC Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in the Highway, Second Edition 2002, together with amendments (or any successor document current at the time of the works).

  5. The site must be safe at all times and comply with current legislation with regard to signing, lighting and guarding as failure to do so could result in prosecution.

  6. All works will be guaranteed as required by HAUC and the applicant is responsible for rectifying any defects within specified timescales once notified by the highway authority. Failure to do so will result in costs being recharged to the applicant.

  7. The applicant must allow at least twenty clear working days between the submission of the application and the proposed start date. This is to ensure that the correct notices are submitted as required by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and the Traffic Management Act 2004. Further time may be required subject to processing traffic management requests (see condition 8 below with regards to traffic management approvals).

  8. Where permission is granted, this relates only to the works and not to the use of traffic management (signals, other controls, Traffic Regulation Orders) which if required, must be applied for separately.

  9. The applicant is responsible for any remedial costs for consequential damage to the highway resulting from the works or reinstatement.

  10. The applicant shall ensure that all temporary excavations are reinstated as quickly as possible. The highway authority is entitled to apply a charge to works unreasonably occupying the highway and the permit holder may face a fine where works have remained open for an unreasonable duration.

  11. Where multiple excavations are required, these should be carried out consecutively where each excavation is reinstated prior to the next excavation commencing. The applicant must state on application if this is not possible as special conditions will be applied.

  12. In situations where works are in the vicinity of a railway level crossing:

    1. The application must clearly state this is the case

    2. The rail authority must be informed (presently Network Rail, contact details available on request)

    3. The applicant must comply with relevant legislation (available on request)

  13. Plant belonging to statutory undertakers may exist in the vicinity and any damage caused to this plant by your works or any activity associated to the works will be the responsibility of the applicant. The applicant must contact all statutory undertakers prior to commencing works to notify them of the works and to establish the location of existing apparatus that may be affected by the works. Safe digging practices must be adhered to, to ensure the safety of the operatives, the public, assets owned by statutory undertakers and the highway structure.



Apply   Back to top

Applications must be made by the company who is planning to excavate the highway. Your company must be registered with us to apply for a permit to dig.

Before applying please read the excavations application conditions.

Apply online

If you have any queries, please email trafficandnetwork@staffordshire.gov.uk.

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