Campsite licensing

If you want to use your land as a tented camping site, you may require planning permission and to be licensed.

You should always contact the planning department before setting up any campsite, although planning permission is not normally required for short-term pop up sites operated for up to 28 days. During the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 this allowance has been extended to 56 days - see Pop Up Campsites in the Forest for more information.

On this page:

Long-term use

You may only require planning permission if you wish to operate for over 28 days in any calendar year, although sites occupied by a recreational organisation do not require planning permission. 

Find out more about planning permission.

In addition to any planning permission which may be required, a site will require a licence from us if it is operating either for:

  • more than 42 days consecutively
  • 60 days in total in any 12 consecutive months.

If you already have planning permission to operate as a tented camping site, you can apply for a licence at the GOV.UK website using the link below.

There is no fee for this application.

Camping site licences are normally issued with conditions, including:

  • how the site should be laid out
  • how many tents are allowed
  • what toilet and washing facilities should be provided.

Recreational organisations

Members of recreational organisations that meet certain requirements can camp on land without a site licence and without the need to apply for planning permission.

The organisation must hold a camping exemption certificate.

You can apply for a camping exemption certificate via the GOV.UK website using the link below. You can also renew an existing certificate.

Legislation

Camping is controlled by a number of pieces of legislation, including:

Contact details

If you have any questions about a licence application, or need to transfer or amend an existing licence, email eandr@nfdc.gov.uk or call 023 8028 5411.

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