Caravan Site Licence

Licence Summary 

To run a caravan or camping site, you need a licence from the local authority. The number of caravans permitted on the site will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions which are designed to provide adequate standards of amenities, facilities to users and more importantly to protect their health and safety. To be able to apply for the licence you need to:

As part of the licensing and planning process you may be asked to demonstrate suitable wastewater disposal, including having facilities for waste from chemical toilets. Scottish Water, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and The Highland Council have produced guidance for developers of campervan waste disposal points which may be of use.

Eligibility Criteria 

There are two types of caravan site licence, following a change in the law on 1st May 2017 and you may need both. The two type are

  • a Holiday/Tourer site licence for temporary, holiday type purposes (No Fee)
  • a Permanent Residential site licence if people live on your site all year round. (Fees- see Fees and Charges))

The Caravan 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 some exceptions:

  • Use of land by a person travelling with a caravan for one or two nights for a period not exceeding twenty‐eight days in a year, if during that period no other caravan is stationed for the purposes of human habitation on that land or any adjoining land in the same occupation.
  • Use of holdings of two* acres or more for the stationing of not more than three caravans at any one time on land which comprises, together with any adjoining land which is in the same occupation and has not been built on, if the use in question falls in the period* between the first day of April and the last day of September in any year (*this provision contains amendments by the Caravan Sites (Exemption from Licensing) (Scotland) Order 1961).
  • Use of land (or adjoining land) on which building or engineering operations are being carried out for the accommodation of a person or persons employed in connection with the building and engineering operations (for which planning permission has been granted).
  • Agricultural and forestry workers ‐ use as a caravan site during a particular season, by a person or persons employed in farming operations or forestry operations on land in the same occupation.
  • Sites occupied and supervised by exempted organisations (certificate of exemption granted under Paragraph 12 of the First Schedule  of the Act (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)) if the use is for purposes of recreation and is under the supervision of the organisation.
  • The use as a caravan site of land where there is in force a certificate issued by an exempted organisation, of not more than five caravans are at the time stationed for the purposes of human habitation on the land to which the certificate relates. The exempted organisation must issue a certificate stating that the land has been approved by the exempted organisation for use by its members for the purposes of recreation e.g., sites certified by the Caravan Club of Great Britain for use by members of that club i.e., a certified location. The certificate should specify the date on which the exemption comes into force and the period for which it is to continue in force, being a period not exceeding one year.
  • The use of land as a caravan site if the use is under the supervision of an exempted organisation and is in pursuance of arrangements made by that organisation for a meeting for its members lasting not more than five days.
  • The use of land as a caravan site by a travelling showman who is a member of an organisation of travelling showmen which holds for the time being the required certificate and who is, at the time, travelling for the purposes of his business or who has taken up winter quarters on the land with his equipment for a specified period.

The applicant must be entitled to use the land as a caravan site.
Licences will not be issued to applicants who have had a site licence revoked within three years of the current application.

Regulation Summary 

Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Site Conditions

The general conditions are available from the Comhairle website as detailed below:

These conditions will form part of the licence when granted. Additional specific conditions may be applied to your licence.


Whilst processing the application, the following organisations/Services may be consulted:-

  • Building Standards
  • Development Management
  • Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and
  • Police Scotland


Fees are only applicable for residential or mixed residential sites. The Fees are on the Current Fees and Charges Sheet 


Non-residential licences will last as long as any planning consent for the site. Residential sites will last for 5 years and will also be tied to the site having planning permission/consent.

Application Form

If you make a statement which you know to be false or recklessly make any statement which is false you will be guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) of £1000.

Application Process

Once a competent application, together with all supporting documentation, has been received we will acknowledge receipt within 1 week and you should have a response from us on the application within two months being the target completion period.

If you have not heard from us within the target completion period, please Contact Us

Tacit Consent

Tacit consent will apply for this licence. This means that where a competent application and all supporting documentation has been submitted electronically or by post and you can show proof of delivery either by way of an electronic receipt or from a post office or recognised courier, as the case may be, you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period. This period can be extended once if necessary due to the complexity of the issue provided we notify you of the extension and its duration before the expiry of the original target completion period.

Refused Applications

If your application is refused you can appeal to the local Sheriff. Please contact us before you lodge an appeal.


You are advised to take up any issue with the local authority first.

If a licence holder is refused an application to alter a condition they may appeal to the local Sheriff 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 the local authority.


If you require further information please Contact Us.