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Placement of rails, beams and cranes over the highway

Section 178 of the Highways Act 1980 regulates the placement of apparatus such as rails, beams and cranes over the highway.

It is an offence to place any such equipment before applying for a Section 178 licence.


Apply by completing our online application form. We need a minimum of 20 days’ notice.

Please do not start work until you have received written confirmation of approval. Approval will not be provided until payment has been received.


The cost of the licence is £233.20 (this is non-refundable even if the application is rejected). We will contact you to take payment following receipt of your application.

When is a Section 178 licence not required?

  • If the owner holds another statutory right such as a public utility company or Civil Aviation Authority or holds a licence under Transport Act 2000.
  • If you are moving loads from mobile plant or equipment, for example, a lorry with grab arm. For these operations a Section 171 licence should be considered.