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Caravan Site Licensing

To run a caravan or camping site, you need a licence from the local authority for the area. The number of caravans permitted on the site will be specified on the licence. Other specific conditions designed to provide adequate standards of amenities, facilities to users and importantly to protect their health and safety are included. Sites licensed for all year occupation, with caravans used as residents' main homes, are subject to a more detailed licensing regime. These 'protected' sites also provide long term security of tenure by law.

Why a licence is needed

The Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960 (opens new window) prohibits the use of land as a caravan site unless the occupier holds a site licence issued by the local authority. The only exceptions are:

  • A caravan sited with the curtilage of a dwelling (house) and its use is incidental to the dwelling. This means it cannot be occupied separately.
  • A single caravan sited for not more than two consecutive nights for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months.
  • Up to three caravans on a site of not less than five acres for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months.
  • Sites occupied by exempted organisations such as the Caravan Club.
  • Sites of up to 5 caravans certified by an exempt organisation and which are for members only.
  • Sites occupied by the local authority. These may include traveller sites and in West Lothian includes the Beecraigs Caravan Site
  • Sites for temporary and special purposes such as caravan rallies, agricultural and forestry workers, building and engineering sites and travelling salesmen may be exempt. These should be discussed with us.



  • must be entitled to use the land as a caravan site, including the necessary planning permission; and
  • must not have had a site licence revoked within three years of the current application.

What type of caravan site licence is needed?

Touring, holiday and sites not licensed for year round occupation

These sites are licensed under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 Part 1 (opens new window).

Sites licensed for year round occupation, including sites with residential mobile homes

These sites are licensed under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 Part 1A (opens new window). Licenses for these sites previously issued under Part 1 of the Act expired on 1 May 2019. For detailed information on the requirements and how to apply, please see Permanent Residential Caravan Sites.

Licence Conditions

Licences have conditions which may include:

  • restricting when caravans can be on the site for human habitation or restricting the number of caravans that can be on the site at any one time;
  • controlling the types of caravans on the site, e.g. residential, static holiday or touring;
  • controlling the positioning of the caravans or regulating the use of other structures and vehicles including tents;
  • requiring steps to be taken to enhance the land, including planting/replanting bushes and trees; and
  • ensuring that sanitary and other facilities, services and equipment are supplied and maintained.

The conditions attached to a site licence may be altered at any time (whether by the variation or cancellation of existing conditions, or by the addition of new conditions, or by a combination of any such methods) by the local authority. Before altering licensing conditions, the local authority gives the holder of the licence an opportunity to make representations.

Register of Site Licences

Local authorities must keep and make available a register of all licensed sites within its area.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is no longer included in the caravan site licensing regime, but all sites are still required to comply with current Fire Safety legislation. The responsibility for enforcement of Fire Safety on caravan sites rests with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (opens new window)

Information on the licensing requirements for caravan sites which are lived on permanently, including residential mobile homes sites