Natural England - Camping exemption certificates

Camping exemption certificates

Section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936 gives power to local authorities 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 to apply

Certificates are issued by Natural England and the National Assembly for Wales. Camping exemptions are not required in Scotland.

The National Assembly for Wales will consider applications from organisations which are based in Wales and whose activities are mainly in Wales. Natural England will consider all other applications. Any organisation which wishes to apply for a certificate for activities in Northern Ireland should contact the Department of the Environment for details.

The certificate can be used by the organisation named on the certificate in the issuing country only. These certificates cannot be used in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Isles of Scilly. Northern Ireland operates a similar, but entirely separate system. For further information contact them at : Policy and Legislation Unit, Planning Services Headquarters, Millennium House, 17-25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7BN. Tel: 02890 416966.

The certificate is valid for a maximum of 5 years, and is issued to a named club for their exclusive use and is not transferable to any other organisation.

List of exempted organisations

A list of organisations exempted: (197kb)pdf document under the Public Health Act 1936 can be downloaded here or obtained from the addresses shown below. Please note the list is correct as at the date shown in the heading. Any subsequent amendments will be reflected in the next version.

Contact us

For further information on exemption certificates or to request a hard copy of the guidance and application form please contact one of the following:

Sharon Sharpe or Paul Ackers 
Natural England
Camping and Caravanning Exemptions Team
Ground Floor Zone A
Shaftesbury Road
Tel: Sharon Sharpe 0300 060 2098, Paul Ackers 0300 060 1081
Fax: 01223 533531

If you have any queries, please email us at:

In other parts of the UK

For organisations in Wales, camping mainly in Wales:
Welsh Government
Planning Division P1
Department for Environment, Sustainability and Housing
Cathays Park

For organisations in Northern Ireland, camping mainly in Northern Ireland:
Policy and Legislation Unit
Planning Services Headquarters
Millennium House
17-25 Great Victoria Street
Tel: 028 9041 6700
Fax: 028 9041 6802