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Camping certificates

Section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936 gives power of local authority to control use of moveable dwellings. The requirement under the Act to obtain a licence for camp sites is applicable only where the land is used for camping for more than 42 consecutive days at a time and more than 60 days in any period of 12 months.

How does an organisation qualify for a camping certificate?

An organisation is eligible for a certificate if:

  • it is formally constituted
  • encouraging and promoting recreational activities are among its objectives.
  • it is applying for the certificate in its own right

How do we apply?

Certificates are issued by Natural England and the Welsh Assembly Government.  Camping exemption certificates are not required in Scotland.

Certificates are only valid in the country of issue. Organisations based, or mainly operating in, England should apply to Natural England. If a certificate is also required for Wales, Natural England will liaise with colleagues in the Welsh Assembly Government to make the necessary arrangements for the issue of a certificate. The Welsh Assembly Government will make similar arrangements in respect of applications from organisations based in Wales who want an exemption covering England.

These certificates cannot be used in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Isles of Scilly. Any organisation which wishes to apply for a certificate for activities in Northern Ireland should contact the Northern Ireland Assembly for details.

Points of contact

For organisations in England, camping mainly in England:

Natural England
Sharon Sharpe/Paul Ackers
Natural England
Camping and Caravanning Exemptions Team
Ground Floor Zone A
Shaftesbury Road

Tel: Sharon Sharpe 01223 533640, Paul Ackers 01223 533562
Fax: 01223 533531

For organisations based in Wales, camping mainly in Wales:

Welsh Assembly Government
Planning Division, Decisions Branch
Department for Environment, Sustainability and Housing
Welsh Assembly Government
Cathays Park
Tel: 029 2082 3883
Fax: 029 2082 5266

For details of the issue of certificates in Northern Ireland:

Department of the Environment Northern Ireland
Department of Environment Planning Service
Millennium House
Great Victoria Street


Further information on the application process, application form and the list of exempted organisations can be found on the Natural England website.

Page last modified: 9 February 2009
Page published: 23 October 2008