Licences explained: everything you need to know about sections 104, 106, 185 and 50 

Whether it’s section 185 or section 50, getting your head around the different drainage licences can be a minefield. But they’re an essential aspect of maintaining or developing a property; under the Water Industry Act of 1991, it’s an offence to connect to a public sewer without the permission of a local water authority. Here, we breakdown what the different licences mean, why you may need them, plus how we can help you to navigate securing the permissions you may need.

Section 50

Section 50 street-works licences are needed for any works which take place in the highway, and sewer connections are no exception. The New Roads and Street Works Act, 1991, Section 50, states that a licence is needed in order to lay or maintain existing apparatus in the public highway.

Here at Premier Drainage Solutions, we can take care of the process for submitting and monitoring (as well as chasing) progress of Section 50 licence applications as part of any sewer connections works which require a road to be dug up, or tunnelled under.

As soon as we are appointed as contractor for a sewer connection job, our administrative team begins the Section 50 licence application process with the relevant highway authority. This is important, as the licence must be granted before work can start. Most authorities suggest leaving at least a month, or more, to allow for the processing of an application.

Section 104

Section 104 of the 1991 Water Industry Act refers to a legal agreement between a developer and a water company. In this agreement, the developer agrees to construct the sewage system to the appropriate standard. Once constructed, responsibility for the sewers then falls to the local water agency. 

Under the Code for Adoption, introduced 1 April 2020, all new section 104 applications need to be compliant with the Design and Construction Guide published by Water UK. The Code for Adoption also recommends developers refrain from starting to construct any new sewers for Local Water Authorities to adopt until all parties have signed the legal Section 104 agreement. 

At Premier Drainage Solutions, we can save you the hassle involved in preparing for, submitting and finalising the Section 104 Agreement. We already have the knowledge to produce a compliant plan, so we can make the process smoother and quicker for you.

We also happen to be approved contractors for Thames Water, Southern Water and Anglian Water, which means we have everything in order that a Local Water Authority would need to see, such as a health and safety policy, public liability insurance, quality assurance standards, details of previous sewer connection works, and confined space trained personnel for entering a manhole.

Section 106

A Section 106 application is a must if you’re building a new house or extending (or perhaps renovating) an existing property. Whether you intend to connect to a public sewer directly or indirectly, you must complete a Section 106 application. 

A direct connection is exactly as it sounds – connecting directly to the public sewer – while an indirect connection is where you connect to a drain which discharges into a public sewer. Most of the UK’s public sewer network is made up of local sewers, which connect to trunk sewers. As connections to trunk sewers are rarely granted permission, you will need to find the closest local sewer for your new connection.

The most efficient way of getting Section 106 consent to connect to a public sewer is to let a sewer connection contractor such as us take care of the whole process – from the initial asset location search through to the design process, implementing the works, and getting the final sign-off.

Our customers frequently choose this option, since our 40-year experience in public sewer connections means we’re able to ensure efficient, first-time approval (which saves money by keeping fees to a minimum, and avoiding delays on-site.) 

Section 185

A Section 185 Sewer Diversion Agreement is necessary if a public sewer crosses a proposed site of works.

Under Section 185 of the Water Industry Act 1991, a builder or developer can request that a public sewer is altered, diverted, or removed to allow a site to be developed. Where a public sewer crosses a site, a developer can submit a request to the water authority to undertake a reasonable diversion of it.

However, it’s worth noting that diversion of public sewers under Section 185 of the Water Industry Act 1991 can be a protracted process. All parties involved (developers, consultants, contractors, project managers) need to be aware of the process, costs, legal and technical requirements, and programme implications.

If you’re a developer, you’ll also need to ensure sufficient time has been included in your build programme for diversion of sewers before works associated with the development commences.

Need a helping hand to navigate this licence? We’re experienced in undertaking paperwork on behalf of clients dealing with water authorities and we can provide a realistic estimate of how long it will take to get a licence or agreement. A typical mistake we often see is developers not factoring in enough time for paperwork, then needing to put a site on standby while they wait for approval. If you’re not sure of the timescales, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Get in touch 

When it comes to drainage paperwork, we’re here to save you the time, hassle and potential headache of navigating legislation. For free advice regarding your sewer connection works, and to find out more about how we can help, get in touch on 01268 950050, email us at [email protected], or why not send us a message on Whatsapp? 

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