Skip licences (skip permits)

The Highways Act 1980 mandates that a skip should not be placed on the public highway without obtaining a licence from the Highway Authority, the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. The placing of a skip on the public highway poses a nuisance and potential danger to highway users, particularly to partially sighted, blind and vulnerable members of the public.

For this reason a skip is not permitted on the public highway unless prior approval is granted in the form of a licence and the skip company is registered.

The following guidance has been put together in order to help you gain a greater understanding of the Council’s position.

What is classed as a public highway?

'Public Highway' in this instance is defined as a footway, verge, carriageway or public right of way between the boundaries of private property which could be adopted or un-adopted.

Private land is excluded. Unfortunately, on occasions where a skip is placed on private land adjacent to the public highway, the Council do not have any powers to enforce removal.

If the ownership of land is disputed the ‘alleged’ owner will be asked to provide evidence to the contrary to that recorded by the definitive Highway Record and/or Land Registry.

Please note that un-adopted highway may show that you have ownership on the title deeds however; the existence of a public highway on this land supersedes any land ownership rights (ie the Highway Authority has precedence in legal consideration of activities in the highway land over the land owner).

Under Section 31 of the Highways Act the designation of highway may also arise from the use of land for an uninterrupted period of 20 years. Therefore the Council may consider that land which has not formally been dedicated or adopted is appropriately designated as highway.

Which laws and legislation allow the Council to licence and enforce skips?

The following laws and legislation allow the Council to licence and enforce skips:

  • Highways Act 1980, Section 139 - Control of builders skips.
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 140 - Removal of builders skips.
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 140A - Builders skips: charge for occupation of highway
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 140B - Builders skips: charge determined by reference to duration of occupation of highway
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 140C - Regulations under sections 140A and 140B

How do I register my skip company?

The City of Bradford Metropolitan Council requests that all skip companies operating within the district register with the Authority. This is as a result of a number of safety issues involving skips causing a danger to the public as well as difficulties in obtaining payment for skip licences.

In order to register your skip company you should download and complete the registration form (Word, 45 Kb).

As part of the registration process you will be asked to provide the following details:

  • registered name of the company
  • registered address of the company
  • name of the company owner
  • address of the company owner
  • name of the company as it appears on the skip
  • Companies House Registration Number
  • VAT Reference Number
  • Public liability insurance
  • Environment Agency Waste Carriers Licence
  • VOSA Goods Vehicle Operators Licence

Once complete the form should be returned to:

Network Resilience and Management
Department of Place
4th Floor Britannia House
Hall Ings


All registered companies operating within the district will be displayed on the council’s website.

Registration should be renewed on an annual basis.

With effect from 31 January 2015; any skip company not registered with the Council will be refused licences to place skips of the public highway.

How does a skip company request a licence to place a skip on the highway?

If you run a skip company and wish to request a licence to place a skip on the public highway you must give the Council at least one days’ notice prior to its placement.

Please note: contacting the Council at the same time as placing the skip is not considered as providing enough notice and a licence may not be issued as a result.

Request a skip licence

Requests for skip licences will be processed between 9am and 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am and 4pm on Fridays.

If you wish to deliver a skip over the weekend the request for a licence should be emailed on the preceding Friday. We will then process the request on the following Monday morning (if not before).

When requesting a skip licence you should clearly state the location and address of where the skip will be sited and how long it will be in situ.

Council officers will regularly check skips found on the public highway to see if a skip licence is in place.

Skips deposited on the highway without prior notification will be issued with a fine.

Illegal skips sited on the highway are subject to addition fines. Please see what is an illegal skip? for further information.

For more information on the cost of a fine please see fees and charges to skip companies.

How long is a skip licensed for?

Skips are licensed for a period of 14 working days with the following exceptions:

Exception Licensing period
On carriageways less than 4.5m wide kerb to kerb 5 working days, timed to waste collections
Within the city centre area (bounded by the inner ring road A6181 and A650 5 working days
On sections of the the West Yorkshire Key Route Network in Bradford District (List to be supplied to skip companies) 7 working days
Full Skips Immediate Removal on request

Other time restrictions can be applied at the discretion of the Highway Authority.

What is an illegal skip?

The Highways Act mandates that a skip has to be:

  • properly lighted during the hours of darkness and, where regulations made by the Secretary of State under this section require it to be marked in accordance with the regulations (whether with reflecting or fluorescent material or otherwise), that it is so marked
  • clearly and indelibly marked with the owner’s name and with their telephone number or address
  • removed as soon as practicable after it has been filled

Any skip that does not comply with the above is unlawful and can be removed by the authority. A fine will issued to the skip company for non-compliant skips.

For more information on the cost of a fine please see fees and charges to skip companies.

Are there any other conditions regarding the placing of a skip on the highway?

The following conditions apply to the placing of a skip on the public highway:

  • Skips should be placed on the carriageway, parallel to the kerb line, in a manner that does not obstruct the passage of vehicles or pedestrians and that allows for appropriate sight lines to be maintained.
  • Skips should not be placed in no loading zones, bus stop clearways, bus lanes, on double yellow lines or on zigzag approaches to crossings.
  • Where a skip is placed on a block paved, or flagged area, suitable protection to the surface in the form of plywood sheets (or similarly approved) should be laid prior to the skip being placed.
  • Skips within the city centre have additional criteria over and above that required by the Highways Act. In this instance the skip should:
    • Be closed and lockable.
    • Be delivered before 8am and not removed until after 5.30pm
    • Placed on plywood sheet boarding to prevent damage to surfaces.
    • Have their exact location agreed with a member of the Network Resilience and Management team.

If a skip is not in accordance with this criteria it will considered to be illegal and as a result the skip company will be issued with a fine.

For more information on the cost of a fine please see fees and charges to skip companies.

How can I report a skip that I believe does not have a licence or is illegal?

The Council endeavours to deal with any non-licensed or non-compliant skips as soon as reasonably possible but, if you see what you believe to be a non-licensed or an illegal skip on the highway the quickest and easiest way to report it to us is by calling the Council's Contact Centre on 01274 431000.

How will enforcement action be taken?

The following procedure will be followed if an illegal or non-compliant skip is found on the public highway:

  • A Council officer will visit the site where photographic evidence will be obtained along with other details such as identifying marks, the siting of it, name of the skip company and contact number.
  • The skip company will be issued a fine accordingly.
  • The skip company will be asked to remove the skip from the highway within a given time frame and/or where applicable, request and pay for a retrospective licence (this is in addition to the fine).
  • If there are no obvious markings regarding who the skip belongs to the Council Officer will obtain a statement from whom is believed to have ordered the skip (this may be a resident or a business). If the responsible skip company can still not be ascertained the person who has ordered the skip will be liable to any fines and, if applicable, will be responsible to apply for a retrospective licence.
  • If a company places 5 or more skips on the highway consecutively without obtaining a licence or paying retrospective fees the Council will commence legal proceedings against them
  • Where a skip is considered to present a danger (interpreted at officer’s discretion), regardless of ownership it will be removed as soon as reasonably possible. The skip will be stored for a maximum of 28 days and the owner will be notified that it is available for collection within this period.

Please note, unfortunately if the skip is on private land no enforcement action can be taken.

Who will carry out the enforcement action?

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council is the Highway Authority as defined under the Highways Act 1980 and therefore has a statutory duty to ensure that the highway, comprising of roads and pavements, is kept safe and free from obstruction.

As a result, enforcement action will be undertaken by the Council's Network Resilience and Management Team who are a part of the Planning, Transportation and Highways Service which forms part of the Department of Place.

Fees and charges to skip companies

Fees and charges will be issued via invoice monthly and must be settled within 28 days. If you do not pay within 28 days we will suspend your company's ability to apply for skip licences.

Item Fee
Skip licence fee £35
Illegal skip fee
Skips deposited on the highway with no prior notification. Administrative costs incurred in identifying the skip company and processing a retrospective application.
Non-compliant skips
In circumstances where a skip is found to be non-compliant. Administrative costs incurred in recording the issue and contacting the skip company requesting remedial actions.
Release of an impounded skip
In some circumstances the Council will have to remove skips. This fee covers storage of the skip and officers' time spent dealing with the recovery.
Waste disposal charges
Should a skip have rubbish in it that it not safe to store on site, additional charges of £120 per tonne will be payable.

How can I reclaim a confiscated skip?

The cost of removing the skip will be calculated on a case by case basis and will be determined by the contractors’ removal fee, tipping fee, any storage costs and administration fee. This will be added onto the monthly invoice.

We will liaise with individuals directly to arrange collection of the skip.

Where can I find details of registered skips?

In addition to information about roadworks and scaffolding on the highway; all registered skips are shown on our online map and our roadworks and highways map. This is usually within 30 minutes of the application being logged.

If a resident/business has ordered a skip, or sees a skip placed on the highway, they can use the online map or our roadworks and highways map to check that it has a licence and how long it is likely to be there. The Council and utility companies can see where a skip is located as and when they need to carry out work on the highway.