Hertfordshire: Changes to Section 50 Licensing

One reason clients love working with us is because we take the headache out of drainage paperwork. We’ve been in the game for over 40 years, so we know our stuff and keep up to date with the latest developments. Changes to licensing, guidelines and legislation can have a massive impact on works, particularly if they come as a surprise. That’s why we’re letting our clients know about a very important update for the Hertfordshire region that came into effect in May 2023.

In short, to apply for a Section 50 (street works and excavations on the highway) licence, you now not only need a Section 106, but also a Section 104 already in place. This has implications on cost and timings, not to mention who takes overall responsibility for the asset after adoption.

No time to read on but need a Section 50 licence in Hertfordshire?

Don’t worry, we’ll help you get it sorted – give us a call on 01268 950050.

Section 50 Paperwork Requirements

According to the Contractor Guidance provided by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), as part of the Section 50 licence application process, they now request the following additional documentation from applicants or contractors:

  • A site/location plan clearly displaying the intended point of (dis) connection for new or existing apparatus, or excavation points, for trial hole investigation work.
  • A Traffic Management Plan detailing how the contractor intends to manage traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian where applicable) throughout the works.
  • Public Liability Insurance for the Named Applicant and the Contractor performing the works.
  • Street Works Qualification Register Cards (SWQR) with a preference that there are SWQR cards for at least 1 Operative and 1 Supervisor per licence application.
  • Utility / STAT requests from each of the following Statutory undertakers – Affinity Water, BT Openreach, Cadent Gas, Thames Water, UK Power Networks and Virgin Media.
  • Section 106 Approval Letter – for category A or B works an email or letter from the respective Statutory undertaker giving their consent and/or awareness of the works going ahead is required.
  • Section 104 Adoption Agreement – an Adoption Agreement from the respective Statutory Undertaker who will be taking ownership of the apparatus once it is installed in the highway.
  • Payment – current costs available here.

Hertfordshire: Changes to Section 50 Licence Applications

The change, in force since May 2023, means that a Section 104 Adoption Agreement should be in place before the Section 50 application is made. This is a new development and means that any developer undertaking Category A works involving a new foul water connection needs to supply an adoption agreement from Thames Water or Anglian Water who will be taking ownership of the apparatus once it’s installed in the highway.

According to HCC Contractor Guidance: “Only works related to a new Foul Water connection require a S104 Adoption Agreement. For Category B or C works, the Section 104 adoption agreement letter is not required to be submitted as part of the application.”

Implications of Hertfordshire’s Section 50 Changes

This change doesn’t just have an impact on getting the timing of your paperwork right. It also means that if there is ever a problem with the new lateral or connection, it will now be the responsibility of the asset owner (Thames or Anglian Water) to undertake any repairs or modifications, and not the responsibility of Highways. This is important information for developers to consider.

Section 50 Applications in Hertfordshire

In their guidance to anyone seeking a Section 50 licence, HCC clearly states:

“Non-compliance with any requirements of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 or the Highways Act 1980 may result in severe financial penalties.”

This means any works conducted without a licence could result in action being taken by HCC and may stop the applicant or contractor from undertaking any future works. HCC has also supplied a clear guide to these fixed penalties.

Timing of Applications

In their written guidance to contractors, HCC says that for Minor (3 days) or Standard (10 days) works that don’t involve major traffic management, the completed Section 50 application and paperwork should be submitted at least 20 working days before the proposed dates. Whereas for Major utility works (3 months), all the documents required should be submitted at least three months before the proposed start date. Failure to comply with these timings could mean delays for your project.

So, getting your Section 104 agreement in place before you make the Section 50 application is vital. The Section 104 timescale needs to change its position in your scoping/planning stages, and the timing for approval (which can take months) as well as additional cost should be factored in. See our guide to Section 104 here.

How PDS Can Help

This is a significant change and one that has implications both in the early stages and the future of your project. We can advise on how this will affect your plans and help you create a realistic timeline. Give us a call on 01268 950050 and we’ll be happy to help.

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