Attachments to highway lighting columns

Applying for a licence under Section 178 of the Highways Act for permanent or temporary attachments over, along or across the highway, such as hanging baskets, seasonal decorations, banners, catenary wires or electrical equipment.

The process places emphasis on public safety, ensuring all installations are electrically safe and all structures and anchor points are capable of accepting loadings placed upon them.

Licencing covers all types of apparatus, including (but not exclusively):

  • hanging baskets
  • seasonal decorations
  • banners
  • CCTV cameras
  • ANPR cameras
  • vehicle activated signs
  • speed indicator devices
  • wi-fi equipment
  • catenaries (a system of overhead wires above the highway used to support electricity cables)

Attachment apparatus

Street lighting columns are not designed to withstand additional forces and stresses induced by additional apparatus. It may still be possible to attach apparatus to lighting columns, or to private buildings/equipment, with evidence that they are capable of carrying the additional loads.

Some assets are not suitable for supporting any apparatus – these include hinged lighting columns and columns manufactured using concrete, cast iron, aluminium and glass-reinforced polyester (GRP). Under no circumstances will a licence be granted for apparatus to be attached to these assets.

You are responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of all apparatus installed in connection with your application.

Licence limitations

  • We will issue a S178 licence based on your specific application criteria once all the conditions have been met.
  • The licence is only valid for the agreed period between the installation of the apparatus and its eventual removal.
  • You will need to apply for a licence each time you want to install apparatus.
  • If you install apparatus that does not comply with the specifics of the licence, we will withdraw consent on the grounds of public safety and instruct you to remove them within 7 days. If you do not remove the apparatus within that period, we will remove the unlicenced apparatus and recover the costs from you.

Apply for a Section 178 Licence


Applications are now made online – you will need to prepare digital copies of any required documentation, to upload to the application form.

Your application must be received at least 8 weeks in advance of the proposed installation date. Late applications risk not being approved in time. We do not charge for this process.


Documents you will need with your application

Copies of the following documents must be provided with your application. For online applications these will need to be digital photos, scans or electronic documents like a PDF.


  • Your Public Liability Insurance (PLI) for a minimum of £5 million for any one event
  • The structural testing organisation's (PSTO) Professional Indemnity Insurance (minimum cover £5 million)

Structural testing reports

As carried out by an appropriately qualified and experienced Professional Structural Testing Organisation (PSTO), for all lighting columns and anchor points intended to support apparatus.

Evidence of competency

For all organisations involved with the installation, maintenance, removal and electricity supply for the attachments in your application, e.g. professional body membership certificate, HERS number, NICEIC number.

Electrical connections

If any of the apparatus in your application requires an electrical supply, you will need to provide:

  • A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) for each piece of apparatus
  • An electrical test and inspection certificate for the whole system in accordance with BS 7671
  • Evidence that you will pay for any electricity used – showing that the process of obtaining an unmetered load certificate has started

Plan and details of all attachments

  • Attachments details – height, width, weight, windage area, location, road name, anchor points, street light column number of each individual attachment.
    For larger installations you can provide your spreadsheet/document of all the attachment details.
    For smaller installations the details can be added directly into the online form.
  • Overall plan/detailed drawings of the proposed installation showing locations, lighting column numbers that have an attachment, and anchor points for catenary wires.

You must read the full guidance before applying to understand all the requirements, including for:

  • Traffic management
  • Height clearances
  • Electrical connections

When you are ready to make your application – you have all the necessary document copies in an uploadable format – click the button to apply:

Apply online for a Section 178 Licence

If you cannot submit your application online, please fill in our Customer Services online contact form and send us the details of your enquiry.