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Market Operators' Licence

West Lothian Council operates a market operators' licensing scheme which is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.

The Team are able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your application form or provide legal advice on whether a licence is required. You should seek legal advice from a solicitor or advice centre if you are unsure as to whether you require a licence. 

Which markets require a licence from the Council?

In terms of Section 40 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982, a market operator's licence is required where it is proposed to carry on a private market. The definition of private market is a market, whether covered or not, carried on by any person other than a local or public authority at which goods are be offered by more than one seller for sale by retail to the public.

This includes car boot sales and farmer's markets.

Which markets do not require a licence from the Council?

A market operator's licence shall not be required for carrying on either of the following:

  • functions held by charitable, religious, youth, recreational, community, political or similar organisations;
  • markets held only for the sale of livestock, fodder or grain.
How do you apply for a Market Operators Licence?

If you want to apply for a market operator's licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee, application forms which have guidance notes attached to them are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.

If you wish a temporary licence to allow you to operate at a particular event your application should preferably be made at least 3 months before the event to allow time for the application to be processed and applications must be received at least 35 days in advance of the date of the event. 

All applications are copied to the Council's advisors. Mandatory background checks will be carried out on all applicants by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer. You will be contacted once vetting is complete.

How will my application be decided?

Applications which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers. All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for determination. You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis.

We have nine months in which to determine your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days. 

How do you complain about market traders or operators?

Complaints regarding the services offered by market traders should be made to the market organiser. Complaints regarding the conduct of licence holders may be made to the Licensing Team. These should be made in writing by email or letter providing full details of the nature of the complaint and sent to the Licensing Team using the contact details box.

Complaints regarding unlicensed markets should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.

How much are the application and renewal fees?

More information regarding pdf icon current application fees [20kb]