Pavement licensing

A pavement licensing scheme under the Business and Planning Act 2020 has been introduced to simplify the street trading system up to 21st September 2020 in response to restarting the economy following the covid-19 pandemic, providing a simplified streamlined process.

A business which uses (or proposes to use) premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption (on or off the premises) can apply for a pavement licence.

Businesses that are eligible include: public houses, cafes, bars, restaurants, snack bars, coffee shops, and ice cream parlours. 

A licence permits the business to use furniture placed on the highway to sell or serve food or drink and/or allow it to be used by people for consumption of food or drink supplied from, or in connection with the use of the premises. The furniture which may be used is:

  • counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
  • tables, counters or shelves on which food or drink can be placed
  • chairs, benches or other forms of seating
  • umbrellas, barriers, heaters and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink

This furniture is required to be removable, with the Local Authority using the principle that ‘removable” means it is not a permanent fixed structure, and is able to be moved easily, and stored away of an evening. 


Any application must be subject to consultation with the community as well as relevant council departments (eg Highways Department).  

The consultation period is 5 working days (excluding public holidays) compared to other licensing schemes where it is 28 days.

Pavement licensing scheme duration

This is a temporary measure to support businesses while social distancing measures may still be in place.

As it is uncertain how long some form of social distancing measures will be in place for, the new process will remain in place until the end of September 2021 – giving certainty to businesses for the foreseeable future, supporting them to operate safely while social distancing measures are in place.

For more detailed information you can view the guidance and application form (Please note that these documents are subject to change depending on final legislation passed).

Please also note the conditions which are applicable to all pavement licences.

For information about the current Business and Planning Act, please see Business and Planning Bill 2019-21.