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BBfA Licensing

Who is affected?

Licensing is everywhere whether its jumping into a taxi, eating from a street trader, buying a pint, getting a tattoo, placing a bet, going to a theatre or buying a pet, the world of licensing impacts on our everyday lives. Business activities including the sale of some goods and other recreational activities may require a licence from your local authority. Other activities require permits or registrations. Consultations with the public and responsible authorities are required as part of some licensing functions. Application, annual or other fees may also be payable. The following activities may require a licence from your local authority or other agency:

  • Sale or supply of alcohol
  • The provision of regulated entertainment including plays, films, indoor sporting activities, live and recorded music
  • Provision of late night refreshments (i.e. hot food and drink between the hours of 23:00 and 05:00)
  • Gambling establishments or premises housing gaming centres
  • Market and mobile trading, street trading and street cafes.
  • Taxi and private hire driver, vehicle and operator licences.
  • Animal boarding (Cats & Dogs), animal breeding (dogs), pet shops and zoos.
  • Operating a horse riding establishment
  • Keeping a dangerous wild animal
  • Charitable street collections and house to house collections for charitable and other not-for-profit good causes.
  • Handing out leaflets or flyering in public places.
  • Special treatments and skin piercing (including acupuncture, electrolysis, body or ear piercing, tattooing).
  • Hairdressing and barbering
  • Sex shops, sexual entertainment venues and sex cinemas.
  • Scrap metal dealing including motor salvage
  • Boat and boatmen licences
  • Mobile home and caravan site licences


Top tips:

  • Check with your local authority if you need a licence, permit or registration to carry out the activity you wish to provide.
  • Visit the .gov or local authority website to see if you can apply for your licence online.
  • If you are applying to carry out any form of licensable activity at your premises, you may also need to apply to update your planning permissions.
  • If you want to carry out occasional licensable activities, for example selling alcohol at a launch event, a temporary event notice is a cheaper and easier way to do one-off events.
  • If applying for a licence to sell alcohol, late night refreshments or regulated entertainment, you must consult the government’s S182 Guidance and your local authority’s statement of licensing policy, which should be available on their website.
  • Check whether your local authority provides a pre licensing service to help guide you through the process.


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