everything you need to know about skip permits and licenses how much they cost

Skip Permit & Skip License Guide

Skip permits (or skip licenses) are required by law if you hire a skip on a public road. Here is our definitive guide to when you need one and how they work.

  1. What is a skip permit and when do you need one?
  2. Who applies and issues skip permits?
  3. How long do skip permits last?
  4. How much do skip permits cost?
  5. How long does it take to get one?
  6. Do you need a permit if your skip is on your driveway?
  7. What about parking suspension fees for skips?
  8. How to check if a neighbours skip has a permit
  9. What happens if a skip is on the road without a permit?
  10. Do you need a permit for skip bags/hippo bags on the road?
  11. Are there any rules about skip permits?


  1. What is a Skip Permit and when do you need one? 

Before you place a skip on any public highway or road (including a pavement) you need to have a skip permit from the local council. Skip permits exist to control how many skips are placed on the road because they take up space and can impact parking and traffic flow. Not having a skip permit is unlawful, you can be liable to a fine, and the skip could be removed at any time. There is no requirement for a permit if you put a skip on private land, such as your driveway, field or private road.

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  1. Who applies for and issues skip licenses?

Skip licenses are normally organised for by the skip hire company, although a few councils require the actual person paying for the skip to order it direct.

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  1. How long do skip permits last?

A skip permit typically lasts one or two weeks, depending on the council.  Most councils allow for this initial period to be extended (for an additional fee), so contact them in advance if you need more time.  If you keep a skip for longer than the timeframe allowed by your permit, you may face a fine.

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  1. How much do skip permits cost?

The cost of a skip licence varies depending on where you are in the UK. The average cost is around £30. When the skip provider organises the permit on your behalf, they add the permit cost to the overall hire charge.  Some also add a small admin fee on top. The table below compares skip permit prices across some of the major UK cities.

Skip Permit Fees in the UK for 2019 – Comparison Table

Region Charge
Birmingham skip permit £20
Bristol skip permit £64
Edinburgh skip permit £29
Essex skip permit £20
Exeter skip permit £45
Leeds skip permit £20
Liverpool skip permit £10
London skip permit (average) £68
Luton skip permit £55
Manchester skip permit £20
Newcastle skip permit £20
Nottingham skip permit £15
Southampton skip permit £15

Source: AnyJunk 29 October 2019

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  1. How long does it take to get the permit?

It normally takes a few days for a council to process a skip permit application.  It’s important to account for this extra time when deciding when to order your skip and also to figure out when you need all your waste ready by.  The waiting time for a permit depends on the council and how speedy or busy they are. If time is of the essence, you may be better off using a man and van rubbish clearance service because this can usually be undertaken within 24 hours of booking.

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  1. Do you need a permit if your skip is on your driveway?

Although you won’t need a permit from the council if the skip is placed in your driveway, you may still require consent from your landlord (check your lease) or anyone else with whom you share that drive with (eg. neighbours).  If they aren’t super keen to give you permission, you could always try to persuade them by allowing them to share the skip too!

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  1. What about parking suspension fees for skips?

As well as skip hire permit charges, if a skip is placed in a controlled parking zone (CPZ), in other words in a residents parking bay or pay & display metered parking, then, you will also need to organise and pay for a parking bay suspension. Fees vary dramatically by each council. In some parts of London for example, they can be as much as £99 per day, but others are completely free.  The fee is typically charged daily. More details can be found in our survey of London skip permit prices.

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  1. How to check if a neighbours skip has a permit

Perhaps your neighbour has inconveniently placed their skip outside your house or it has been there for months and you’re wondering what’s going on and if the skip is legal.  Some councils (such as Richmond Council) have a handy tool on their website that allows you to type in a road to see if there is a valid licence.  So, if you have any concerns about neighbours skips, see if your local council has a tool like this.  Alternatively, if there’s nothing on their website, they may be able to help if you give them a ring.

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  1. What happens if a skip is on the road without a permit?

Enforcement officers regularly check that skips have valid permits, and if an unlicensed skip is found without one you will face a fine.  This fine is normally issued to the skip company, but if the local council requires the customer to organise the permit and the customer has told their supplier that it’s been sorted, the skip company can push the fine to the customer.  This is why it’s important to always make sure your permit covers your skip hire period.

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hippo skip bag with waste and tyre

  1. Do you need a permit for skip bags/hippo bags on the road?

Yes. Just like skips, if they’re on a public highway you need a skip permit for a skip bag.  We recommend that if you’re using a skip bag, you take a look at our helpful skip bag guide that will answer any skip bag-related questions including prohibited items (such as hazardous waste, mattresses, fridges and asbestos) and weight restrictions.

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  1. Are there any rules about skip permits?

Yes, skip permits require the skip about which the permit is being given comply with the following key rules and conditions:

  • Location – it cannot have the nose of the skip sticking out into the road
  • Skip dimensions – e.g. Hammersmith and Fulham council require skips to be no longer than 5 metres and no wider than 2 metres
  • Paint – skip needs to be coated in paint to make it visible to oncoming traffic
  • Care and disposal of its contents – you must not leave any waste lying on the road
  • Lighting & markings – the skip needs appropriate lighting and road markings (traffic cones) around the skip. If the skip fails to have these, the fine could go up to a hefty £1000
  • Duration – it must be removed at the end of the licence period


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