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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.

What is the definition of street trading?

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

(a)  hawking, selling, or offering or exposing for sale any article;

(b)  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, details of these can be found in the guidance notes attached to the application.

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. Applicants should note that mandatory background checks will be carried out by Police Scotland and applicants' details will be retained on computer. Applicants will be contacted once vetting is complete.

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.

How much are the application and renewal fees?

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

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 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.

Where can I get an application form?

Application forms which have guidance notes attached to them are available to download from the Related Documents section on this page.

What standard conditions will be attached to my licence?

The pdf icon standard conditions [69kb] are in the related documents section on this page.