Camping & Regulations

Planning permission for, 28-day (now 56) camping rule (permitted development) and lawful use.

Below is a list of regulations to help you easily access the information you need.

There are two alternatives to planning permission, these are:

  1. Permitted development:

 (a) 28-day (now 56-day) tent camping rights

 Recent updates listed below:


  1. any moveable structures on wheels or skids in connection with the use of  camping on the site, such as toilets, benefit from these same permitted development rights. remembering that, any single day when such a temporary structure is on site will count as one of the number of days permitted.
  2. a separate licence may still be required for certain types of moveable facilities, such as a bar, ice cream van, or snack bar.
  3. trailer tents will qualify for permitted development, caravans will not. This law prevents touring caravans and motorhomes/campervans being pitched,  you may be able to use the licence exemption, for 28-day use of up to 3 units
  4. these permitted development rights never override existing planning conditions and there are sometimes other reasons they are not available.
  5. If you have not provided camping under permitted development (’28-day camping rule’) before, it is suggested that you confirm the status with your local planning department for completeness.
  6. the 28-day rights are not available for land within the curtilage of a building. However, the new additional 28 day rights are available in England for land within a building curtilage
  7. Wales
  8.  within the curtilage of a building unless there is a scheduled monument within that curtilage
  9. Letter Kelly Tolhurst

(b) No caravan site licence required if:

SCHEDULE 4 Special provisions as to land use in 1948

If Schedule 4 can be proven, permission is automatically granted.

The use is as a caravan site where the land is operating under the exemptions from a caravan site licence, this is permitted development.

  1. Lawful use
  • If a campsite or caravan park has been operating without planning consent, it may still be possible to apply to the local authority for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) as an alternative to planning permission. An LDC is a legally binding declaration that ‘development’ (campsite or caravan site) either does or does not need planning permission, or has become lawful due to the passage of time. ‘Passage of time’ means 10 years for use of land. The burden of proof however, does fall upon the applicant. Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 191.
  • Overview

    Contact your local council for a licence if you live in England, Scotland or Wales and want to use your land as a caravan site.

    You do not need a licence to run a caravan site if:

    • forestry workers, builders, travelling showmen or seasonal workers (like fruit pickers) stay in caravans on the site
    • the site is 5 or more acres and there are 3 or less caravans there for 28 days or less a year
    • you’re a member of an organisation like a caravan club and have a caravan exemption certificate
    • your site is approved by an organisation with a caravan exemption certificate
    • members of an exempted organisation stay in their caravans on the site
    • your site is used for a social get-together of caravan club members (a ‘rally’)


    The council may put conditions on the licence including:

    • how the site should be laid out
    • what type of caravans are allowed
    • what toilet and washing facilities should be provided

    If you disagree with the conditions, you can appeal to a local magistrates court. The council may change licence conditions at any time but they should discuss any changes with you.

    You must have planning permission for the caravan site before you apply for a licence.

    How to apply

    Contact your local council for an application form.

    You may have to pay a fee for a licence.

    Licence Application Rules

Applying for planning permission

  • If you want to go beyond a 28-day (now 56-day) rules for a camping site and you are not in a position to apply for the LDC, you will need to apply to your local authority for full planning permission here.
  • Contact your local planning department. (Part III of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990)
  • When submitting your application, include information on the value, low impact, & local benefits of the campsite or caravan site. These may be direct or in direct benefits to the local economy, community, and any benefits to your own business as well.
  • How much will it cost?
    • Fees vary widely depending on factors such as existing planning consents and plot sizes.
  • How long will it take?
    • The time limit for any local authority to decide an application is 8 weeks from registration in their statute, albeit the application site is larger than 1 hectare or 2.47105 acres it is up to 13 weeks or  if an ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ (EIA) is necessary, then up to 16 weeks.

Disclaimer: C@MP are not offering any legal advice whatsoever. All information has been drawn from sources available on the web.

Site licences for caravan sites / camping sites

A licence will be required from your local authority if:

  • The land is to be used for tented camping (this includes trailer tents) on more than 42 consecutive days at a time or more than 60 days in 12 consecutive months.
  • Any campsites over 100 yards away are counted separately (Public Health Act 1936, Section 269) (this is not required in Scotland, who generally allow wild camping in most spaces.
  • For Northern Ireland
  • Caravans (including static Caravans, Glamping pods, Touring caravans, Motorhomes & Campervans) if there is any element of human habitation, see: (Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960).
  • You must have correct planning permission for any pre planned caravan site before this licence can be granted and the licence can take up to two months. (‘Caravan site licence’)
  • If sites have mixed types of accommodation, to include tents, these are normally licensed as a single site, with tents seen as touring units for the purpose of the conditions.
  • The licence may contain various conditions.
    • relating to the number and type of units permissible at the same time.
    • spacing
    • LPG storage and recreational space.
    • toilets
    • showers
    • rubbish disposal
    • fire safety devices and processes
    • roads
    • footpaths
    • electrical installations
    • waste water 

Exemptions from site licence

  • The following section lists exemptions Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960,
  • You may have exemptions from site licence and planning permission all year round if your site joins one ion the ‘exempt organisations’. These are recreation clubs such as:
  • the Freedom Camping Club
  • The Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC)
  • The Camping and Caravanning Club (C&CC) which have been approved in Englandin Walesin Scotland or in Northern Ireland  The exempt organisation would typically inspect the site and make a number of checks before issuing a certificate.  Camp at My Place are currently not an exemption club.

Depending on the type of exemptions held, your customers will be able to:

  • put up tents (which may include all types and tents and trailer tents) – non-members allowed if site ‘belonging to’ or ‘provided by’ the exempt organisation; otherwise members only (‘Section 269’ use)
  • stay in a ‘caravan’ (Touring caravan, Motorhome/Campervan, Glamping pod, Shepherds hut) as follows:
  1. Approved sites exemption: up to 5 caravans at any time – non-members allowed apart from Wales (‘paragraph 5’ use)
  2. Supervised and occupied sites exemption: for recreational purposes, if the land is occupied and supervised by the exempt organisation itself – non-members allowed, with no limit on duration or capacity (‘paragraph 4’ use)
  3. Club meetings or rallies exemption: as part of a club meeting for members lasting up to 5 days – non-members not allowed (‘paragraph 6’ use)
  • If you have separate land, it may be also possible sign up to Camp at My Place as your reservations and payment Management service and remain a CS/CL, and we have a number of sites operating on this basis. It may be possible to ‘dual certify’ with different clubs for caravans and tents.
  • In Scotland and Northern Ireland* there is no camping exemption (camping licences are not required in Scotland), but caravan exemptions are available.
  • Exemption certificates do not apply in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Isles of Scilly, and Northern Ireland has a separate system for exemptions.
  • Natural England published this extensive guide on exemption organisations.

*in Northern Ireland, a camping licence is not automatically required.

How do I apply for a site licence?

For tents, apply at camping licence (England and Wales) (not required in Scotland).

For caravans, at caravan site licence (England, Scotland and Wales) or caravan site licence (Northern Ireland).

The fee to apply for a licence differs depending on your local authority, and there is normally no expiry date unless the site’s planning permission expires. As part of the process you would normally be expected to submit a site plan. If your application is refused, you can appeal to the local magistrates’ court.

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