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Campsite licensing

If you want to use your land as camp site for tents you may require planning permission and to hold a license. This page explains when you will require a licence and the circumstances under which a licence is not needed.


On this page:

Temporary Campsites

Short-term, pop up sites operating for up to 28 days in a calendar year will not normally require planning permission to operate. However, you are advised to contact the planning department before setting up any campsite. Additional information on Pop Up Campsites in the Forest  is also available, which gives information on the need for campsites to comply with the Habitats and Species Regulation 2017.


Long-term campsites

If you wish to operate a campsite for more than 28 days in any calendar year you are likely to require planning permission, although sites occupied by a recreational organisation do not require planning permission - see below. 

Find out more about planning in the District Council area or  National Park area by following the relevant link.

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 organisation exemptions

Under Section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936, members of recreational organisations which hold a camping exemption certificate can camp on land without a site licence and without the need to apply for planning permission. Camping exemption certificates are for recreational organisations that organise camping for their members on sites belonging to them, or on other sites with the landowner's permission.

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

Although camping exemption certificates do not permit caravans, which are covered by separate legislation, you can also apply for a touring caravan exemption certificate using the link above. Further information on touring caravan exemptions are available by following the link. 


Contact details

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

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