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Getting a Skip Permit

When you hire a skip and need to place it on the road (public highway), you may need a skip permit from your local council.

The variances in skip permit charges and regulations from council to council are massive – fighting for homogeneity of skip permit charges is something we are constantly doing via Skip Hire magazine – because the charges made are subject to interpretations of the Highways Act 1980: section 139 road traffic regulations act, 1984.


The easiest thing to do is call Topskips on freephone 0844 686 9342 (Mon-Fri 0800-1800) and our skip hire experts will happily advise you on skip permits in your area (even if you don’t order a skip from us!)


Alternatively, if you are reading this out of hours, you will need to check your local councils’ skip hire permit guidelines. If you are unsure which council you need to contact, use the “Find your Local Authority” tool on

Some councils – mostly in London and Scotland – require you to apply directly to them for a permit, whereas most of them require the application to be from the skip hire company itself. To save time, just give us a call on 0844 686 9342 or email us and we’ll tell you what you need. (Note: Some councils will charge you more if you need the permit within three days of your application).

Also, different councils have different expiry dates and it is worth checking when you apply so you can arrange a suitable collection date. If you are looking for long-term skip hire you will need to submit another application, and may be asked to pay a surcharge.

If your council is one that requires you to apply directly for a skip hire permit, you will need to learn how to apply. There is no standardised system – some councils need you to fill in a form on their website, others require a letter, and some allow you to obtain one by visiting their offices.

Sounds complicated? It is! Topskips can take care of it all for you – just give us a call on 0844 686 9342

Skip Permit Application Guidelines Samples

To show you how completely differently skip permits and skip licenses are issued around the country, here are two examples:

Skip Permit Examples:

Sheffield City Council

Cost £35

Duration 14 Days

Processing Time 3 Days

Cheltenham Borough Council

Cost £70

Duration 28 Days

Processing Time 5 Days

Skip permits

If you wish to place a builder’s skip on any part of the highway a permit is required from this Authority. Otherwise, you may be liable to prosecution and a fine.

Following application to the Council and subject to safety considerations, skip permits are issued to skip owners (suppliers) for permission to place a skip on the highway.

Who is required to obtain a skip permit?

The skip owner (supplier) is responsible for obtaining the permit. It is not the householder’s or the builder’s (contractor) responsibility to obtain the highway permit. However, as a householder, you should verify that your skip supplier has the necessary permit before they deliver the skip.

The skip owner (supplier) also has the responsibility to ensure that skips are positioned on the highway in such a way that they do not cause an obstruction to other road users. The supplier is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate regulations are adhered to.

How long does a permit last?

A licence can be valid for any period between 1 day and 14 days. For longer periods additional applications should be made. Only one skip will be allowed on site at any one time except in exceptional circumstances.

Where should skips be placed?

Whenever possible, skips should be placed on the carriageway. If permission is granted to place skips on a footway or grass verge, an agreed method of protecting the surface should be carried out by the skip owner or householder.

Are there any other requirements?

Skips placed on the carriageway require at least 4 traffic cones on the approach side to guide traffic past the skip.

During the hours of darkness, in poor daytime visibility and bad weather, road danger lamps (flashing amber) must be placed against or attached to each corner of the skip. If sited on the carriageway, a lamp should be placed between each cone.If the Council’s contractors are called out to lamp a skip or make it safe, a charge will follow.

Skips placed on the highway shall not contain any inflammable, explosive or noxious material, or anything which is likely to cause nuisance to highway users.

Contents of the skip shall be kept “damped-down”, or covered to prevent dust or spillage on the highway. The skip must not be overloaded and must be removed when full.

How do I apply for a skip permit?

Remember, it is only the skip owner (supplier) who is responsible for obtaining the permit. It is not the householder’s or the builder’s (contractor) responsibility to obtain the highway permit.

To apply for a skip permit, the skip supplier should contact the Council at the above address by telephone, fax, e-mail or letter giving details of the proposed location of the skip and the dates that it will be located on the highway.


How do I obtain a permit to deposit a skip on the highway?

Skip companies wishing to apply for a permit to deposit a skip on the highway must first register with the Highway Authority before a  permit application can be made.
Apply for a permit – You can complete the application form link to online form and post back to us with your payment, a copy of your Public Liability Insurance (minimum £5,000,000) and Waste Disposal Licence. Skips should not be placed on the highway until confirmation that the appropriate documentation and fee have been received and permit actually issued.

What are the Regulations?

Highways Act – 1980 – Section 139
Regulations relating to the depositing of a builder’s skip on a highway

The Council in exercise of their powers, under Section 139 of the Highways Act 1980 hereby grant you leave to apply for permission to deposit a builder’s skip on a highway within its boundaries, subject to the provision that application is made and permission is granted through the Central Register procedure as detailed in the attached letter and subject to the conditions contained in the Schedule hereto.


  1. Each skip shall be clearly and indelibly marked with the owner’s name and with their telephone number.
  2. Each skip shall be deposited on the carriageway only, unless authorised by an Officer of the Council to be placed elsewhere, and shall be positioned so that its longer sides are parallel to the edge of the carriageway and as near to the edge of the carriageway as is reasonably practicable, and so that it does not impede the surface water drainage of the highway nor obstruct access to any manhole or the apparatus of any statutory undertaker or the Council.
  3. Where a maximum of two skips is on the highway at any one time, the skips shall be positioned as closely as possible to each other, but not so as to obstruct access to any premises unless the consent of the occupier of those premises has been obtained.
  4. Each skip shall not exceed 5 metres in length by 2 metres in width.
  5. Each skip shall while on the highway be marked, guarded and lit in accordance with the following requirements:
    1. Each skip shall be guarded by at least three traffic cones placed on the carriageway in an oblique line on the approach side of the skip. Where two or more skips are deposited in a row, so that the distance between adjacent skips does not exceed 2 metres, the row shall be guarded as if it were one skip.
    2. At night (that is to say between half-an-hour after sunset and half-an-hour before sunrise). A road danger lamp shall be placed against or attached to each corner of the skip or the end corners of the row of skips where two or more skips are deposited in a row and the distance between adjacent skips does not exceed 2 metres, and shall also be placed between each cone and the next.
    3. The ends of each skip, that is to say the sides of the skip facing traffic in both directions, shall be painted yellow and shall be fitted with vertical red and yellow fluorescent reflective markings on each end. The markings must comply with British Standard BS AU152:1970 and must be marked with that number. The markings shall be fitted as near as the construction of the skip allows to the top outer corners of the ends of the skip, subject to an overriding maximum height of 1.5m above the ground for the top of the marking.

Appendix 1

The markings must not be fitted to any lid and should only be fitted to a door where there is no alternative location on the end of the skip. Where a marking is fitted to a door, the door should be kept closed, unless loading is actually taking place. The painting and markings shall at all times be kept clean.

  1. No skip when standing in the highway, shall contain any inflammable, explosive, noxious or dangerous material or any material which is likely to putrefy or which otherwise is, or is likely to become a nuisance to users of the highway.
  2. No skip shall be used in such a way that any of its contents fall on to the highway, or that there is an escape of dust from the contents of the skip when standing in the highway.
  3. Each skip shall be removed for emptying as soon as practicable and in any case not later than two working days after it has been filled.
  4. No skip shall be on the highway outside the period of permission specified in the Central Register.
  5. All materials placed in each skip shall be properly disposed of and the highway where the skip or skips have been deposited shall be left in a clean and tidy condition on the expiration of this permission.
  6. No skip shall be positioned less than 15m from a junction unless authorised by an Officer of the Council.
  7. The Council reserves the right to specify any other relevant conditions relating to the placement of a skip which will form part of these Regulations.
  8. At the time of application to deposit a skip(s) on the highway the questions as detailed in Figure 2 must be answered in every respect.
  9. The company as a condition of the issue of this permit must indemnify and insure and keep insured the Council in respect of any claims made in respect of the depositing of skips in the highway.
  10. Not withstanding any evidence of agreement to the contrary, the contractor undertakes that they shall not attempt to assign, sub-let or under-let or otherwise dispose of ownership or title of any skips licensed by the Council unless specifically authorised to do so by the Council in writing.

How long does a Permit last for?

Your permit will last for a maximum of 4 weeks from the date of issue.

How can I make a complaint regarding location of a skip?

Skips must not be sited on a footpath.
Any complaints about the locations or safety of the skips should be reported instantly please use the contact details below and this will be dealt with accordingly.

See what we mean?