Temporary traffic signals licence

You need our permission to erect temporary traffic signals on the highway in Cheshire East.

We can prosecute you if erect temporary traffic signals without permission.

You will need a traffic management plan drawn up by an accredited traffic management company before you apply. The plan must include signal timings (see Department for Transport’s  Introduction to the Use of Portable Vehicular Signals).

You must also check for any other highways licences you might need and make sure you apply within the relevant time frames for each.

Two way traffic signals - if you are from a utilities company, applications for 2-way signals are included as part of your streetworks permit. Otherwise, email highways explaining what work you are planning and we will get back to you with advice about what permits you need.

Multiway traffic signals -  apply online for multiway traffic signals via gov.uk.

The form is a PDF document. You can download it and save it while you work on it. 

Notes on filling in the GOV.UK temporary traffic signals form

Works reference number

Where the form asks for works reference number, give your streetworks licence or permit number if you have one, or note that you have applied for a streetworks permit, S50 licence or S171 licence as applicable.

Stakeholder comments

Cheshire East has no requirement for temporary traffic signals licence applicants to obtain stakeholder comments. 

Option of applying for 'scheme design and approval'

The option of applying for 'scheme design and approval' is not relevant in Cheshire East because as we don't treat this as a separate option. Whether you tick the box here or not you must still answer the questions about signal timings.

When to apply

We need the following minimum notice periods for temporary traffic signal applications: 

Notice periods for temporary traffic lights
Category of work (as defined by NRSWA)Period of notice

Immediate (emergency and urgent)

Call us on 0300 123 5020 for fast track application or retrospective process

Minor works (up to 3 days duration)

7 days

Standard works (4 – 10 days duration)

7 days 

Major works (more than 10 days duration) 

20 days 

Documents we need from you when you apply

When you apply, we’ll need a 1:1,250 scale (or greater) plan showing the positions of the following:

  • 'wait here until green light shows' sign 
  • temporary traffic signal heads
  • cones for working area, safety zones and pedestrian walkways (where applicable) 

We may ask to see proof of public liability insurance indemnifying us for a minimum of £5 million.

After you apply

After you apply, we’ll review your application to make sure your plans are suitable for the site. We’ll check that the plans won’t put road users at risk or affect other works or events in the area, and that disruption will be kept to a minimum.

We’ll then get back to you within the notice period if any amendments need to be made. 

The following fees and charges apply for temporary traffic signals:

  • temporary 3 and 4-way traffic signal applications - £280.30
  • Any switch off or on / bagging on or off activity completed Monday – Friday excluding Bank Holidays - £269.70
  • Any switching off or on / bagging on or off activity completed during Bank Holidays, Saturdays and Sundays - £317.30

VAT does not apply.

If we reject your application or if you cancel, we’ll refund the fee less an admin charge of a minimum of £84.70 


You will need to pay online when you submit your application.

If you are able to submit your GOV.UK form but unable to make the payment due to an intermittent fault you can pay using our temporary traffic lights payment form

When operating temporary traffic signals, you must at all times keep workers and the public safe and minimise inconvenience.

Health and safety

You must comply with all relevant health and safety legislation and codes of practice including the Department for Transport’s  Safety at Street Works and Road Works Code of Practice. You can be fined or prosecuted if you don’t comply.

You must appoint a competent traffic management company, with operatives qualified to Sector 12D of the National Highway Sector Scheme.


All signage must conform to the  Traffic Signs Regulations

Signals and controllers

Signals must be erected in accordance with diagram 7001 with supplementary plate to diagram 7021, and diagram 562 with supplementary plate to diagram 7022. These diagrams are explained in the Traffic Signs Regulations..

The portable signal controller and detector equipment must be of a type approved on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport. Traffic signal timings must be designed in accordance with Department for Transport guidelines. You can find full information in the Department for Transport’s  Introduction to the Use of Portable Vehicular Signals

When working in traffic-sensitive locations at busy times, you must operate the signals manually with a view to keeping traffic hold ups to a minimum.

On/off switching

If you have asked for a switch off/on, your traffic management company must be onsite and ready at least 30 minutes before the time requested. If they are not ready, we will cancel the switch off. You will need to email highways to reschedule. You will then need to pay a further switch on/off fee and cover our costs for the first visit. If you cancel a switch off/on without telling us, you will need to cover our costs for the visit.

When temporary traffic signals aren’t in use

When not in use, the temporary traffic signals must be either removed or 'bagged over'.

Generators used with temporary traffic signals

Generators in urban areas must be fitted with a silencer when being used overnight.   

The operation of temporary traffic signals is covered by part 9 of the Highways Act 1980

Contact us

Report a problem online

If you consider a highways issue to be dangerous, or an emergency, please call us on:

0300 123 5020
(8:30am – 5:00pm)

0300 123 5025
(after 5pm and before 8:30am, including weekends)

Floor 6
Delamere House

Delamere Street Crewe

Page last reviewed: 16 September 2021