Caravan & Camp Site Licence

Licence Summary

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 prohibits the use of land as a caravan site unless the occupier holds a site licence issued by the local authority.

There are a number of exemptions to this requirement, such as:

  • Incidental use within the boundary of a dwelling house
  • Sites approved by certain organisations i.e. Caravan Club
  • Building and Engineering sites
  • Travelling Showman sites
  • Sites occupied by the Local Authority.

The term 'caravan' includes one or more Twin-unit caravans, holiday caravans, residential caravans, touring caravans and dormobiles. 

How to Apply for a Caravan Site Licence

Before you apply for a licence, you will require planning permission,  You are advised to contact the relevant Planning Authority (West Somerset Council or Exmoor National Park) to discuss this matter further.  A site licence cannot be issued until such permission is obtained.

Once planning permission is in place, the land occupier must apply in writing for a site licence.  No fee is applicable.


The licence will state such conditions as West Somerset Council consider necessary to protect the residents on site.  The conditions are normally based on model standards and may be varied or removed at any time as circumstances change.  The may cover any of the following:

  • 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 caravan on the site
  • controlling the positioning of the caravans or regulating the use of other structures and vehicles including tents
  • to ensure steps are taken to enhance the land, including planting/replanting bushes and trees
  • fire safety and fire fighting controls
  • to ensure that sanitary and other facilities, services and equipment are supplied and maintained.
How to Apply for a 'Tent' Site Licence

Under the Public Helath Act 1936, a site must not be used for the siting of tents for more than 42 consecutive days or more than 60 days in any 12 months, without the benefit of a licence.

If you wish to use your land as a tent site for longer than the days stipulated then you must apply for a site licence.

It is likely that planning permission will also be required from the relevant planning authority, West Somerset Council or Exmoor National Park.

Eligibility Criteria

The Council will normally issue a licence, unless:

  • there is no planning permission for the caravan(s), or
  • the planning permission is to expire within six months, or
  • the applicant has had a site licence revoked within the previous three years 
Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Application Evaluation Process

Applications for site licences are made to the local authority in whose area the land is situated.

Applications must be in writing and accompanied by a site plan at 1:500 showing the layout and any other information required by West Somerset Council.

There is currently no fee for a Caravan Site Licence

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

Yes - this means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from West Somerset Council by the end of the target period.

An application period of 2 months is required from receipt of a fully completed application.

Transferring the Site Licence

if the site is to be sold or transferred to another person or named body, you should complete the transfer of licence application form and send it to the Local Authority, together with the current site licence.

On receipt of a complete application, a new licence will be prepared together with the current licence conditions and will be forwarded to the new licence holder.  A site inspection may also take place at this time.

Keeping Us Informed

You should notify the local authority immediately in the event of any changes which may affect the validity of the licence in order to change the licence accordingly, such as:

  • new planning consents which alter unit types
  • new planning consents which alter the number of units
  • material alterations to the site layout
  • new verandas
  • resiting of vans

Licence holders can expect to receive inspections at periodic intervals from our Health and Safety Officers in order to ensure compliance with licence conditions and that other health and safety risks are being adequately controlled.  Inspectors will normally walk the site to check separation distances, number of units, structures adjoining caravans, fire points, LPG storage areas and toilet blocks.  The current electrical certificates, landlord gas safety certificates and any other maintenance records will also be inspected.  Failure to comply with site licence conditions may lead to prosecution.

The frequency of inspections is determined by the application of a risk-rating scheme, which takes into account the number and types of units, the level of compliance with site conditions and confidence in management.  On occasions we will issue a self-assessment questionnaire to determine the  risk rating.

Fire Precautions

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the RRO) applies to caravan sites.  The RRO disapplied some fire related standards that are in current site licensing conditions.  The local Fire & Rescue Authority are the main enforcers of the RRO, however, local authority inspectors are still required to check that site owners are complying with their obligations under it.  In particular, site owners must carry out a fire risk assessment and make this available to the inspectors.  The Communities and Local Government website: contains a range of helpful information on fire safety and the requirements of the RRO.  This includes links to technical guides for specific types of accommodation, including one for sleeping accommodation.

The fire precautions laid down in current licence conditions provide a useful benchmark for the sort of preventative and protective measures that may be necessary following completion of a fire risk assessment; and you are encouraged to check your individual site licence to ensure that the fire precautions listed are complied with or equally effective measures are in place. 

Apply Online

Apply for a Caravan Site Licence

If you require an application form you can download a copy from the related documents section on this page. Alternatively please contact the Environmental Health & Licensing Team

Failed Application Redress

You are advised to contact the Council in the first instance.

If a licence holder is refused an application to alter a condition they may appeal to the local Magistrates Court.  The appeal must be made within 28 days of the written notification of the refusal and a notice of appeal must be served on West Somerset Council

Licence Holder Redress

You are advised to contact the Council in the first instance.

If a licence holder wishes to appeal against a condition attached to a licence they may appeal to the local Magistrates Court.  The appeal must be made within 28 days of the licence being issued.

West Somerset Council may alter conditions at any time but must give licence holders the opportunity to make representations about the proposed changes.  If a licence holder disagrees with the alterations they may appeal to the local Magistrates Court.  The appeal must be made within 28 days of the written notification of the alteration and a notice of appeal must be served on West Somerset Council.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery).  If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, GOV.UK will give you advice.  From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other Redress

Anyone suffering nuisance due to noise, pollution etc. should contact Environmental Health and Licensing at West Somerset Council. 

Trade Associations

If you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact us on 01643 703704 or email or complete the online form..