The legislation surrounding street trading is primarily the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. In addition to this, there are a number of Private Acts and Bills. Examples of these area specific Acts and Bills include:

– City of Newcastle 2000
– Medway 2004
– Leicester City Council 2006
– Liverpool 2006
– Maidstone Borough Council 2006

It is also possible to license Street Trading through the Highways Act.

What is Street Trading?

This is where it all starts to get a bit technical – but to summarise, the Act states that it is the selling or exposing or offering for sale of any article (including any living thing) in a street.

What is a street?

Any area to which the public have access to without payment. This includes private land, for example, a car park or industrial estate.

Schedule 4 defines three main types of street which the council can designate:

  • Prohibited Street – a street in which street trading is prohibited
  • Consent Street – a street in which street trading is prohibited without the consent of the district council
  • Licence Street – a street in which street trading is prohibited without a licence granted by the council

There are however several exemptions in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Schedule 4:

  • Trading as a pedlar
  • Markets or fairs established by charter or other legislation
  • Trunk road picnic areas provided under section 112 of the Highways Act 1980
  • Trading as a news vendor (e.g. The Big Issue)
  • Trading as either a petrol station or as an area in a street adjoining a shop and used as part of the shop
  • Selling, offering or exposing things as a roundsman
  • Use for trading under Highways Act 1980 of an object or structure placed on or over highways – street cafes
  • Operation of facilities under the Highways Act for refreshment or recreation
  • Doing of anything authorised by regulations made under Police Factories Act 1916 (street collections)

Roadside Sales

Roadside sales are controlled by Section 23 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Additionally, Section 147a of the Highways Act 1980 effectively prohibits roadside sales where it is likely to cause a danger to road users. There are a number of exemptions to Section 147a, including street trading which has been authorised under Schedule 4.

How can a council demand planning permission for Mobile Traders?

It is correct that planning permission is required by anyone wishing to change the designated use of a building or area under The Town and Country Planning Act 1990, but in our expert opinion, a small pitch on a car park such as a B&Q does not constitute a material change of use.

How do I stay compliant?

The first place to start is to speak to the Local Authority in the area that you are trading or are going to trade to find out about their interpretation of the relevant legislation. 

Be aware though, that this this is a very complicated issue which many councils are also unsure about. At NCASS we have access to some experts in the field of licensing, and can often clarify issues for members that would otherwise go unanswered or alternatively, cost a huge amount of money in barrister fees.

Supporting Content: 

Licencing & Street Trading – Expert Webinar

On 29/10/20 we had Philip Day from Laceys Solicitors on our webinar as our expert guest! Philip specialises in alcohol and entertainment licensing for pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants, off-licences and events, including large scale outdoor festivals and fairs as well as betting and gaming.

He was joined by host, Mark Laurie to discuss licensing, street trading regulations and how best to navigate these barriers in the current climate.


We'll help with your legal responsibilities and simplify your compliance obligations.

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