Why is this important?
Licences and other types of official permission
This information applies to Scotland only
- Activity centres for young people
- Alcohol (sale of)
- Amateur radio
- Amusement machines
- Bingo clubs
- Business names
- Butchers' shops
- Caravan sites
- Car boot sales
- Care homes
- Childminding and children's nurseries
- Citizens’ band radio
- Civil Partnerships
- Consumer credit businesses
- Debt collectors
- Dog breeders
- Door supervisors (bouncers)
- Driving licences
- Driving instructors
- Employment agencies
- Entertainments in public
- Entertainment (children and young people)
- Film and video shows
- Firearms and ammunition
- Fruit machines
- Foster homes
- Fundraising events
- Gaming clubs
- Heavy goods vehicle drivers
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- House to house collections
- Hunting and selling game
- Lotteries or raffles
- Market traders
- Metal detectors
- Musical performances
- Pedlars and hawkers
- Pet shops
- Public service vehicles
- Riding stables
- Road haulage
- Rubbish skips
- Scrap metal dealers
- Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS)
- Street trading
- Taping at home
- Television licences
- Tobacco products
- Tree felling
- Waste disposal sites
A licence is needed to run a centre providing the following activities for children and young people under 18:-
- climbing (including abseiling and scrambling activities, except on purpose-designed structures)
- trekking (including walking, pony-trekking, mountain biking, off-piste skiing)
- water sports.
Licences are issued by:-
Adventure Activities Licensing Authority
17 Lambourne Crescent
Cardiff CF4 5GG
Tel: 029 2075 5715
A licence is required from the local authority before an acupuncturist can operate.
A certificate is required from the local chief officer of police. From 30 April 2004 it is an offence to own an air weapon with a self-contained gas cartridge without a certificate.
A voluntary organisation which wants to sell alcohol at an event must have a licence. Organisations which do not have a licence must apply to the local authority licensing board for an occasional licence which will permit the sale of alcohol at the event. There are limits to the number of occasional licences which can be issued to an organisation within a year. If a premises licence holder such as a hotel owner wants to sell alcohol outwith her/his licensed premises, for example at an outdoor event s/he must obtain an occasional licence.
You can object to alcohol licence applications and can apply for a review of an alcohol licence if you have grounds for complaint to the local authority licensing board.
For more information about alcohol licensing in your area contact your local authority licensing board.
A practical training course and/or an examination, must be undertaken before a licence is issued. There are different types of amateur licence. For more information contact:-
Amateur Radio Licensing
02-130 Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
A permit or licence is needed. Application should be made to the local authority licensing board.
A licence from the local authority is required for individuals to keep certain dangerous wild animals at home.
In some cases, licensing or registration may be required. If bingo is played for entertainment rather than for private gain, members of the public may take part without any licensing or registration being required, provided that only one payment (of not more than £4) is made by each player as an entrance fee or stake and the total value of prizes distributed during the entertainment does not exceed £400. If these conditions are not fulfilled, a bingo club licence from the local authority licensing board, together with a certificate from the Gaming Board for Great Britain, or (in the case of members’ clubs) registration by the Sheriff Clerk's office, may in some cases be needed.
If you want to know whether a limited company is already using a particular name, you can find out by contacting the Companies House (see under heading Companies for address).
An annual licence costing £100 is required by butchers' shops selling unwrapped raw meat and ready to eat meat from the same premises. Premises that only sell raw meat do not need this type of licence. Contact your local authority or the Food Standards Agency at:-
Firstly, planning permission for use of the land as a caravan site must be obtained from the local authority, then a licence from the local authority (environmental health department) is required to operate a caravan site.
A street trading licence from the local authority or planning permission is needed for sales held in a public place on a regular basis.
Any care home must be regulated to national standards by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). See under heading Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS).
A licence is required from the local authority.
Childminders who receive payment to look after children at home or anyone running a children's nursery or other daycare facility must be registered with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). See under heading Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) for details.
See under heading Tobacco products
The installation and use of all citizens’ band radio receivers must be authorised by an annual licence obtainable from the Radio Licensing Centre (see under heading Amateur radio for the address of the Centre).
Before a civil partnership registration can take place, each party must give notice at a register office in the area where the civil partnership is to be registered.
For more information, see Registering a civil partnership.
Information about how to register a new company can be obtained from:-
A licence from the Office of Fair Trading is needed to run many types of businesses which involve consumer credit, including a consumer credit business, a consumer hire business, credit brokerage, debt adjusting, pawnbroking, debt counselling and debt collecting. The address of the OFT is:-
2-6 Salisbury Square
Tel: 08457 224499
Debt collectors are required to obtain a licence from the Office of Fair Trading. See under heading Consumer credit businesses for details.
A dog breeder is anyone who keeps more than two breeding bitches. S/he requires a licence from the local authority.
From 1 November 2007 it is illegal to work as a door superviser without a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. The address of the SIA is as follows:-
Security Industry Authority
PO Box 9
Tel: 08702 430 100
Fax: 08702 430 125
A driving licence is needed to drive most vehicles on the public road. Licences are issued by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The address of the Agency is:-
Application forms are available from post offices. For more information, see Driving licences.
Anyone who gives professional paid instruction in driving a vehicle must be registered as an Approved Driving Instructor or hold a trainee’s licence to give instruction. Further information and driving instructor starter packs are available from:-
The Driving Standards Agency
56 Talbot Street
Nottingham NG1 5GU
Tel: 0115 901 2500
Information can also be obtained from the local office at:-
Scottish Traffic Area Office
Lady Lawson Street
Edinburgh EH3 9SE
Tel: 0131 200 4955
Fax: 0131 229 0682
Agencies must comply with the rules in the Employment Agencies Act 1973.
A licence from the local authority may be needed to hold any public entertainments, including music, dancing, art exhibitions, boxing or wrestling, whether or not an admission charge is made. Certain events may be exempt from the need for a licence. A local authority has the discretionary power to insist on a licence for a free-to-enter event when they consider it appropriate.
A licence is required where young people under school leaving age are to take part in any performance where a charge is made. School performances are exempt and so are performances which only involve performing for three days or less in a six month period.
Subject to certain exceptions, premises may not be used for the public showing of films or videos unless they are licensed by the local authority. There is an exemption for premises used less than six days a year and for showings conducted by non-commercial organisations, which are covered by an exemption certificate.
In most cases, anyone wishing to possess, buy or acquire a firearm (including an airgun with a self-contained gas cartridge) or ammunition must be covered by a firearms certificate granted by a local chief officer of police. Anyone dealing in firearms or ammunition must also apply for a certificate.
Fireworks are regarded as explosives. There are strict rules about what fireworks can be sold and who they can be sold to. Suppliers who store fireworks all year round must have a licence. You should apply to your local authority which may need to refer you to the Health and Safety Executive. For more information visit the HSE website www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/fireworks.htm.
If you want to hold an organised fireworks display, you may need to apply to your local authority for a dispensation. This will depend on the date and time of your display. It is an offence to use fireworks after 11pm and before 7am without a dispensation except on permitted fireworks nights.
Anyone who wants to fish in rivers or inland lochs needs the permission of the landowner; rights to salmon fishing may be owned separately from the land. No permission is needed for sea fishing, apart from salmon. Permits may be obtained from local angling clubs or fishing tackle shops.
See under heading Amusement machines.
To become foster parents, you must first be registered and approved by the local authority social work department.
The laws on fundraising are complex. A licence or some other form of permission may be needed for some activities. For more information, contact the Charity Commission’s helpline on 0870 333 0123.
Registration by local authority licensing boards is required before gaming can take place in members’ clubs and miners' welfare institutes.
See under heading Firearms and ammunition.
A licence is required to drive a heavy goods vehicle. Licences are available from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Forms are available from the post office. You must be aged 21 or over when you apply unless you are registered under a training scheme and are driving a vehicle owned by your registered employer or training establishment, in which case you must be at least 18 years old.
Any independent healthcare services must be registered and regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
8-10 Hillside Crescent
Tel: 0131 623 4300
Textphone: 0131 623 4383
50 West Nile Street
Tel: 0141 225 6999
Textphone: 0141 241 6316
Children's homes, homes for disabled people, homes for people with learning difficulties, old people's homes, alcohol or drug recovery units must be registered with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). See under heading Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) for details.
House to house collections must be authorised by a permit issued by the local authority.
A game licence is needed to kill, take or sell game. Permission will also be needed from the landowner or anyone else who has hunting rights over the land.
Demonstrations of hypnotism for public entertainment must be licensed by the local authority.
A licence from the local authority is required to run boarding kennels for cats or dogs, including kennels run from a private home.
Dealers of non-domestic knives, for example, hunting shops, must have a licence under the Scottish Knife Dealers’ Licence Scheme.
Anyone running a public lottery on behalf of a non-commercial organisation must be registered with the local authority. If the value of the tickets to be sold exceeds £20,000 or annual proceeds will be over £250,000, the lottery must be registered with the Gambling Commission. Their address is:-
Victoria Square House
If a lottery or raffle is only incidental to an entertainment, for example, a fete or dance, or a private society holds a lottery in which the sale of tickets is restricted to members of the society, registration is not required.
Market traders in most areas require a licence from the local authority.
Before a civil marriage ceremony can take place, each party must give notice in their local register office, where the Registrar will issue authority for the marriage to take place.
For more information, see Getting Married.
A licence is not needed to use a metal detector, but the landowner’s permission is needed to enter, search and/or dig on land.
For more information, see Keeping lost, found and uncollected goods.
If you are a driver of a minibus which can carry eight or more passengers you may need a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) entitlement added to your licence by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You may not require this if the minibus is operated by one of certain non-commercial organisations under a permit issued by a designated body, or by a local authority or the area traffic commissioner. For more information, about licence requirements for driving minibuses, visit the DVLA's website at www.dvla.gov.uk/drivers/drivers.htm
Minicabs are licensed by the local authority.
A licence is not required to use model aircraft or similar model-controlled equipment, but certain conditions must be complied with to avoid interference with other radio users.
A licence from the Performing Rights Society (PRS) is needed to play copyright music in public. Licences are issued to the owners of the premises at which the performance takes place. The address of the PRS is:-
29/33 Berners Street
London W1P 4AA
Tel: 020 7580 5544
In addition, if the performance is of recorded music, for example, a tape or CD, a licence must be obtained from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL). The address of PPL is:-
1 Upper James Street
London W1F 9DE
Tel: 0207 7534 1000
See under heading Consumer credit businesses.
Pedlars and hawkers who sell door to door may need an annual certificate granted by the chief officer of police in the applicant’s district. Some trades, for example, the sale of food, are exempt from the need for a licence.
A licence from the local authority (environmental health department) is required to open a pet shop. Complaints about the way animals are kept should be addressed to the licensing authority or to an animal welfare organisation such as in Scotland the Scottish SPCA on 01383 841 025.
Anyone intending to hold a public procession must give 28 days prior notice in writing to the local authority. The local authority may decide to ban or restrict the procession in some way. Organisers may appeal to the Sheriff in such a case.
A licence from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is required to drive a large passenger-carrying vehicle. For more information, see under heading Driving licences.
Businesses which keep horses to hire out for riding and/or for riding instruction must be licensed by the local authority.
See under heading Lotteries.
Road haulage operators must be licensed by the local traffic area office of VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency). For more information, see www.vosa.gov.uk.
Written permission from the highway division of the local authority is needed for a skip to be placed on a public road, but otherwise no permission is needed.
Anyone dealing in scrap metal must be registered with her/his local authority (either the trading standards department or the environmental health department).
SCWIS regulates all domiciliary and residential care services in Scotland.
Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS)
Dundee DD1 4XA
Tel: 01382 207100
Fax: 01382 207289
See under heading Market traders.
Home taping of TV or radio programmes to allow viewing or listening at a more convenient time is permitted by law. However, recording a broadcast for any other reason may be an infringement of copyright.
Taxis and taxi drivers are licensed by the local authority.
Most people need to have a tv licence to watch tv. For more information about television sets and DVD or video recorders, see Television licences.
If you are a retailer and sell tobacco products as part of your business you must be registered on the Scottish Tobacco Retailer Register. Registration is free and can be done online at www.tobaccoregisterscotland.org.
If a tree is on your own property, you can usually cut it down unless the tree is in a preservation area or covered by a tree preservation order when separate permission is needed. In these cases a Forestry Commission licence would be required to fell trees. For more information about felling licenses, see www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5zgksj or contact the commission at:-
Forestry Commission Scotland
231 Corstorphine Road
Edinburgh EH12 7AT
Tel: 0845 367 3787 (general enquiries)
Fax: 0131 314 6152
The licensing of waste disposal sites is the responsibility of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. For more information, contact:-
SEPA Corporate Office
Castle Business Park
Stirling FK9 4TR
Tel: 01786 457700
Fax: 01786 446885