Sex Shop Licence

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

The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) continues to have a significant impact on the processing of licence applications.

If you need to get in touch with the Licensing Team, please do so by email to the following address:

Email enquiries will be prioritised and responded to on a priority/urgent basis. We cannot accept phone calls at present.

In the meantime, applications for licences and permits (with the exception of hire car applications, please refer to the hire car webpages for details of how to make these) should be posted to the

Licensing Team,
West Lothian Council,
Civic Centre,
EH54 6FF

along with cheques or postal orders for payment of any fee required and copies of all required supporting documentation. 

If you are unable to post your application and fee please contact the Licensing Team by email.

Please be aware that there will likely be delays in the processing of applications due to changes in working conditions at present. 

If you are an event organiser you should note that when possible applicants will be able to email amended applications for events which have been postponed due to Covid-19 as long as the details of the event remain exactly the same and only the event date is changing, any other changes to event details will require a new application to be submitted in the usual manner.   

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. A sex shop licence is needed for any premises or other venue that sell a significant degree of sex articles such as sex toys, books or videos.  This council has a policy that the appropriate number of sex shops in West Lothian is none.

Do I need a Licence?

Yes, if you wish to use a premises, vehicle, stall or vessel in West Lothian for a business which consists to a significant degree of selling, hiring, exchanging, lending, displaying or demonstrating "sex articles". R18 rated video recordings can only be sold at licensed Sex Shops.

A Sex Shop licence is not required merely for the exhibition of moving images, such as film or video. A Cinema licence may be required.

A "sex articles" means anything intended for use in connection with, or for the purpose of stimulating or encouraging:

  • sexual activity
  • acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity
  • any reading/visual or audio material which is concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deals with or relates to, or is intended to stimulate or encourage, sexual activity or acts of force or restraint which are associated with sexual activity
  • is concerned primarily with the portrayal of, or primarily deals with or relates to, genital organs, or urinary or excretory functions

The definition does not include any articles which are manufactured for use primarily for the purposes of birth control or which primarily relate to birth control.

Can anyone apply for a licence?

How do you apply for a licence?

How will my application be decided?

How do you complain about Sex Shops?

How much are the application and renewal fees?

Where can I get an application form?