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Street Trader's Licence

West Lothian Council operates a licensing scheme for street traders which is administered by the Council's Licensing Team.

The Licensing 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.

Who requires a licence from the Council?

A street trader's licence is required where a person, whether on his/her own account or as an employee, or business, proposes to engage in the activity of street trading. This means that every person involved in street trading requires to be licensed whether they are an employer or an employee. Businesses trading as companies or partnerships are required to ensure that each employee is licensed in his/her own right.

There are 4 different types of application form, please choose the one which applies to you -

  1. Application for the grant/ renewal of a street trader's licence - food (plate holder) (street trader form no 1) - this is for a person to licence a kiosk/stall/van selling food* and to trade from it, you will receive a licence plate for the vehicle when your licence is granted
  2. Application for the grant/ renewal of a street trader's licence non-food (plate holder) (street trader form no 2) - this is for a person to licence a kiosk/stall/van selling items other than food* or carrying out any type of service and to trade from it, you will receive a licence plate for the vehicle when your licence is granted
  3. Application for the grant/ renewal of a street trader's licence (non-plate holder) (street trader form no 3) - this is for a person trading from a kiosk/stall/van (which kiosk/stall/van already has a licence plate) selling any items or carrying out any type of service including wheel bin cleaning)
  4. Application for the grant/ renewal of street trader's licence - wheeled bin cleaner (street trader form no 4) - this is for a person to licence a kiosk/mobile stall/van cleaning bins and to trade from it, you will receive a licence plate for the vehicle when your licence is granted

*Food is very widely defined in the Food Safety Act 1990 and includes all drinks including water and all items we think of as food, including chewing gum.

What is the definition of street trading?

Street trading means doing any of the following things in a public place -

  • hawking, selling, or offering or exposing for sale any article, or;
  • offering to carry out or carrying out for money or money's worth any service,

to any person in the public place and includes doing any of these things there in or from a vehicle or in or from a kiosk or moveable stall not entered in the valuation roll except where it is done in conjunction with or as part of a retail business being carried on in premises abutting the public place.

Therefore, a street trader's licence is not required by persons making pre-arranged deliveries where only goods which have been ordered by customers are delivered.

What is the definition of 'Public Place'?

In the legislation public place is defined as any place (whether a street or not) to which the public have unrestricted access and includes:

The doorways or entrances of premises abutting on any such place; and

Any common passage, close, court, stair, garden or yard pertinent to any tenement or group of separately owned houses.

What exemptions apply?

A street trader's licence is not required for-

  • the sale of newspapers only;
  • the sale of milk by or on behalf of a person registered under regulations under Section 19 of the Food Safety Act 1990;
  • the sale of coal, coke or any solid fuel derived from coal or of which coal or coke is the constituent;
  • any activity in respect of which a certificate under the Pedlar's Act 1871 has been granted; (A Pedlar is any person who travels and trades on foot, carrying to sell or exposing for sale any goods or procuring orders for goods immediately to be delivered or selling or offering for sale a skill in handicraft);
  • any activity in respect of which a licence is required under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982, apart from Section 39 of that Act dealing with street trader's licences;
  • organising or participating in a public charitable collection within the meaning of Section 119 (16) of the above Act in accordance with permission granted under that Section.

In terms of Section 42 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, 1982, a late hours catering licence is required where mobile premises operated by street traders are to be used between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am for the sale to the public of food for consumption.  Food is defined in terms of the Food Safety Act 1990 and has an extremely wide definition which covers all food and drink including water and chewing gum.

How do you apply for a licence?

If you want to apply for a street traders licence you must submit an application form along with the required documents and the appropriate fee, applications with guidance notes attached and a note of fees are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.

You should read the guidance notes carefully before completing the application form. You must ensure that you use the most up to date application form available to download from this page, out of date versions cannot be accepted.

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

All applications are copied to the Council's advisors who can recommend that conditions in addition to the standard conditions detailed on this page are attached to the licence when granted. If you do not want to accept any recommended conditions then the application would be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision to be made regarding which conditions will apply to your licence. 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?

We have nine months in which to make a decision regarding your application however the majority of applications are determined within 60 days and applications which do not attract any adverse comments or objections are granted by the Chief Solicitor under delegated powers.

All other applications require to be referred to the Licensing Committee for a decision to be made to grant or refuse your application. You will be advised if your application is being referred to the Licensing Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis and you will be sent notice of the date and time of the meeting at which your application is to be considered along with a copy of the report on your application. Meetings are held in the West Lothian Civic Centre and you or your representative will be given the opportunity to explain to the committee at the meeting why you consider your application should be granted

If your application is refused by the Licensing Committee you may have a right of appeal against that decision and can request a written statement of reasons in relation to the decision from the Licensing Team, this must be done within 10 days of the date your application was refused. Appeals against decisions can be made to Livingston Sheriff Court, information regarding the Sheriff Court is available from the Scottish Courts website and you should consult your own legal representative should you wish further information on how to appeal.

What standard conditions will be attached to my licence?

Standard conditions that are applied to street traders licences can be found in the related documents section of this page.

How long will my licence be granted for?

A street traders licence is issued for a period of 1 year for both the grant or renewal of a licence. Alternatively if your application is for a temporary licence, the licence will be granted for the duration you requested and can be from one day and for no longer than six weeks.

What if I want to vary any of the standard conditions in relation to my licence?

If you are a current licence holder and wish to vary a condition of your licence you need to make a variation application using the form and pay an administration fee. Please note that a separate application must be made for each licence which you wish to be varied. The application form and a list of fees can be found in the Related Documents section of this page.

Once your application form and fee are received a copy of your application will be sent to the Council's advisors for their comments. If there are no adverse comments received from advisors the licence can be varied by the Chief Solicitor using delegated powers.

However if any adverse comments are received the application would then need to be referred to the next suitable Licensing Committee for a decision to be taken. If your application needs to go to the committee the whole process may take three to four months depending on how long it takes for the advisors to respond. If your variation application is referred to committee you will be invited to attend the meeting to explain to the committee why you consider your application should be granted.

If you are applying for a new licence or to renew an existing licence and wish to request that any of the standard conditions be varied you can request that at the time you make your application without making a separate variation application. You should include a letter with your application form explaining what condition you wish varied and the reasons for that. The procedure is the same as for variation applications and if any adverse comments are received the application would then need to be referred to the next suitable Licensing Committee for a decision to be taken on the grant or renewal of the application including your request for the conditions to be varied.

You should be aware that if your application requires to be referred to the Licensing Committee that this will delay the determination of your application.

How do you complain about licence holders?

Complaints regarding the conduct of street traders 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 street traders should be made to Police Scotland by calling 101.