Apply for temporary structure, road closure or crane licence

You need a licence to put building apparatus or machinery in the road or on the pavement (ie on the public highway); this includes things like scaffolding, construction fencing, cranes and cherry pickers.

The type of licence you need depends on what you're putting on the highway and if you need a road closure.

Please consider government guidelines in relation to social distancing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Temporary structure licence

The cost of the licence will vary based on whether you are working on a "major" or "minor" road.  Find out the category of the road you want to work on using our road search tool:

Road category look up

You need a temporary structure licence to put certain items on or over a public highway. View more information on temporary structures.

You will need to complete a Cranes and TTO application if you wish to use machinery such as a cherry picker, scissor lift, MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) or similar. 

Apply for a temporary structure licence

If you do not obtain a licence for a temporary structure on the highway you could be charged a maximum of double the original licence fee.

Licence fees have changed on 1 November 2020.

2. Cranes and Temporary Traffic Orders (TTO)

You must apply for a Temporary Traffic Order (TTO) to do the following in the road or on the pavement:

  • make a temporary road closure
  • use a crane, platform, cherry picker, mewp etc
  • use concrete pumping machinery and outriggers

As with temporary structure licences, the cost of the licence will vary based on whether you are working on a "major" or "minor" road. Find out the category of the road you want to work on using our road search tool:

Road category look up

The council cannot give approval for the oversailing of cranes on private property. You will need approval from private landowners before beginning any works. Any damage caused to private property remains the responsibility of the applicant.

Apply online

Licence fees have changed on 1 November 2020.

At the end of your online application you will be asked to make payment of your consideration fee:

3. What happens next

We aim to issue temporary structure licences within 12 working days, although a larger site or more complex proposal may take longer. Please take this into account when planning the lead-in time for the installation of the structure on site.

Crane and platform licences are issued within 10 working days. If the crane or platform is preventing road access and thereby requires a Temporary Traffic Order, the licence will be issued within 10-12 weeks.

Temporary Traffic Orders for road closures are issued within 10-12 weeks.

4. Renewing a licence and requesting duplicate

Licences can be issued for up to 6 months at a time. If you need to work beyond the expiry date of your licence, you must apply for a new one. If you require a duplicate licence a fee of £51.00 will be required.

Renewal is not automatic and will depend on the way work has been carried out during any licensed period. To renew your licence, please submit a new application and fee in good time before your current licence expires.

5. Licence requirements and conditions

The council is determined that building sites in Westminster should be run considerately. There are a number of acts regulating what can be done on public highways.

These notes outline our requirements where building works potentially affect the public. They are only a guide to the basic legal requirements that contractors must conform with. For more specific and detailed information including a list of useful numbers, please contact the Highways Licensing Team.

Licence requirements and conditions

You will need to meet all the requirements of the application before a licence is issued.

Once you have obtained your licence, you must adhere strictly to the terms and conditions set out. There is a risk of legal action by the council if the terms and conditions of are not complied with.

Each licence will be issued with a site notice which must be prominently displayed on the structure at all times. The notice includes the name of the licence holder and the duration of the licence.

To work beyond the expiration date of your licence, you must make a new application to renew it. Renewal is not automatic and will depend on the way works have been carried out during the period of the original licence.

Consideration fees

Payments are in the form of a consideration fee and are non-refundable once an application has been considered.  Please note that consideration fees are VAT exempt.

Demolition, basement excavation, new build or façade support

If your structure is associated with a demolition, basement excavation, new build or façade support then the consideration fee will automatically be set at the highest rate for the category or road in which you will be working. Licences will accordingly be issued for the maximum term.

Obtaining technical advice

Below we have set out guidance on requirements and conditions relating to specific types of works or types of structures. If you are uncertain about what you require, please contact the Highways Licensing Team for general telephone advice of your basic legal requirements.

Following any tender stage, further technical advice can be obtained through meetings with council and police representatives to outline operating constraints and advise on issues such as site security before your scheme is due to start on site.

Parking suspensions

The prohibited length of the highway will be specified in your traffic order.  Please be aware that this excludes any areas which are designated for use as parking bays.  You will need to contact the council’s Parking Team in order to make a second application for any parking bay suspensions.

Legal requirements

You should note the following legislation when making an application:

6. Deposits

A refundable deposit is sometimes payable on issue of the licence. This deposit is held against potential damage to the public highway caused by any temporary structures or associated building works. A deposit is not needed for a builder's skip.

The size of deposit depends on:

  • the area of the public highway that the temporary structures will occupy or affect
  • the type of materials which the public highway comprises
  • whether street furniture or road gullies may be damaged or at risk
  • the probability of damage to the public highway, street furniture or road gullies due to the nature of the works
  • the duration of the works

The licence is legally effective only when the deposit has been paid.

Applications will not be considered unless you have obtained and attached all appropriate planning permission, listed building and conservation area consents when applying for your licence.

When you have completed the works and removed any temporary structures, you must inform us so we can inspect the public highway adjacent to the site. 

Where costs incurred by the council to repair the damage equal or exceed the amount of any deposit held the applicant will be liable for any shortfall.

Where damage has occurred, we require at least one month's notice by the contractor before it will begin reinstatement work.

We will not undertake any estimates unless a clear site is available; all temporary structures, materials, plant, etc must have been removed.

Additionally, we reserve the right to defer any reinstatement work while site activities may still damage the public highway.

Last updated: 4 December 2020