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This advice applies to Northern Ireland. Change country

Licences and other types of official permission

Activity centres

A licence to run an activity centre for children and young people in Northern Ireland is not required by law. However, Sport NI and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure recognise and promote Adventuremark, a non-statutory safety scheme which offers accreditation for activity providers catering to people of all ages.

Alcohol (sale of)

Premises in Northern Ireland must be licensed in order to sell alcohol.  However, anyone who already holds a licence to sell alcohol in a pub, restaurant or hotel can apply to a Magistrates’ Court for an occasional licence which allows them to sell alcohol at certain one-off events held in unlicensed premises.  

Amateur radio

An amateur radio licence must be obtained from Spectrum Licensing.

A practical training course, and/or an examination, must be undertaken before a licence is issued. There are different types of amateur licence.

Spectrum Licensing can be contacted using the details below:

Spectrum Licensing

Ofcom Licensing Centre
PO Box 56373

Tel: 0300 123 100 or 020 7981 3131
Textphone: 020 7981 3043
Fax: 020 7981 3235
E-mail: spectrum.licensing@ofcom.org.uk
Website: licensing.ofcom.org.uk

For more information, contact Ofcom:

Ofcom

Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London
SE1 9HA

Tel: 020 7981 2121
E-mail: licensingcentre@ofcom.org.uk
Website: licensing.ofcom.org.uk

Amusement machines

You must hold an amusement permit if you wish to operate gaming machines in your premises. Applicants must be 21 or over and have lived in Northern Ireland for at least a year before applying; other conditions and restrictions can be found online at www.gov.uk

Permits are granted by your local council. You can find contact details for your local council online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Gaming machines can be played in commercial bingo clubs, bookmaking offices, the bar areas of pubs and hotels, and in registered clubs without the need for a separate permit.

If you operate gaming machines on your premises, you may also have to pay Machine Games Duty (MGD) to HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC); further information can be found online at www.gov.uk

Animals

A licence from the Department of the Environment is required for individuals to keep certain dangerous wild animals at home.  

For further information contact:

Department of the Environment

Environment and Heritage Service
EHS Biodiversity Unit
Klondyke Building
Cromac Avenue
Gasworks Business Park
Belfast
BT7 2JA

Tel: 028 9056 9605

Beauty specialists

In some areas, you will need to register with the environmental health department of your local council if you are offering certain beauty treatments.  Contact details for your local council can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

If you offer treatments using lasers or intense pulsed light (IPL) systems you must also register with the Health and Social Care Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).  

Further information is available from:

RQIA

9th Floor Riverside Tower
5 Lanyon Place
Belfast
BT1 3BT

Tel: 028 9051 7500
Email: info@rqia.org.uk
Website: www.rqia.org.uk

See also Saunas and Tattoo parlours.

Bingo clubs

You need a licence to operate a commercial bingo club.  To apply for a licence, you must be over 21, have lived in Northern Ireland for at least a year before applying and, if the licence is to be held by a company, it must be registered.  Bingo clubs are not allowed to open on a Sunday.

Licence applications should be made to your local Magistrates’ Court, contact details for which are available at www.courtsni.gov.uk

Business names

If someone wants to know whether a limited company in the United Kingdom is already using a particular name, s/he can find out by contacting Companies House (see under heading Companies for address) or by searching online at www.companieshouse.gov.uk.

Caravan sites

A licence from the local council (environmental health department) is needed to operate a caravan site. Planning permission from the local council is needed before a licence can be issued.

Further information is available online at www.gov.uk and contact details for your local council can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Car boot sales

A Street Trading licence from the local council may be needed for sales held in a public place and/or on a regular basis.

Contact the Licensing department of your local council for more information; contact details for your local council can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Care Homes

Care homes must be registered with The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). The RQIA is the independent body responsible for monitoring and inspecting the availability and quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland.

Further information is available at the RQIA website www.rqia.org.uk

Childminding and children’s nurseries

Childminders who look after children in the childminder’s home or in the children’s home, together with anyone running a children's nursery or other day-care facility must be registered with their local Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust.  

For more information, contact the Early Years team of your local HSC Trust.  Contact details for the various HSC Trusts can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Citizen’s band radio

No licence is required to install or use citizen’s band (CB) radio.  However, CB radio equipment users must use approved equipment such as that which bears a CE mark and must not do anything to interfere with other radio services.  

Further information on regulation, equipment and operating practice can be found online at stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk

Civil partnerships

Both parties must submit their completed civil partnership notice forms, relevant documents, declarations and fees to the Registrar of the district where the civil partnership registration is to take place.

Normally, notice should be given around 8 weeks before the civil partnership registration although 10 weeks is recommended if either party has been married before or has entered into a previous civil partnership. Contact details for District Registrars can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk.

For more information, see Registering a civil partnership.

Companies

Information about how to register a new company can be obtained from:

Companies House Information Centre

Companies House
2nd Floor
32-38 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BG

Tel: 0303 123 4500 (Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm)
Minicom: 029 2038 1245
Email: enquiries@companies-house.gov.uk
Website: www.companieshouse.gov.uk

Consumer credit businesses

Authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is needed to run many types of businesses which involve consumer credit, including a consumer credit business, a consumer hire business, credit brokerage, debt management, pawnbroking, debt counselling and debt collecting.

Debt collectors

Debt collectors are required to obtain a licence from the Office of Fair Trading (see under heading Consumer credit businesses for details).

Dogs and dog breeders

All dogs in Northern Ireland must be licensed unless they are puppies under 6 months old and kept by the person who keeps the bitch who gave birth to the pup, assistance dogs kept by a disabled person, dogs kept for sale in a licensed pet shop or police dogs.  A dog cannot be licensed unless it has been microchipped.  

Once licensed, a licence identification tag will be issued by the council which must be worn by the dog at all times, and all dogs except working dogs must wear a collar with the name and address of their owner on it or attached to it.  

If a person owns 3 or more dogs and keeps them on the same premises then they can apply to their local council for a block licence to cover all the dogs so long as the dogs are 3 unsterilised bitches and one of them is used for breeding, or the premises are registered guard dog kennels or the 3 dogs are registered with the Kennel Club or certain other associations.  The holders of block licences must microchip all dogs by 8 weeks of age and are also required to keep certain records for each dog.

Applications for a licence should be made to the local council; concessions and reductions to the licence fee are available for pensioners and those in receipt of certain benefits.  Further information is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

New legislation regarding dog breeding establishments comes into force on 1 April 2013.  With the exception of hunt clubs and charities, anyone who keeps 3 or more breeding bitches (even if they are kept on separate premises) and who breeds, advertises for sale or supplies 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period or who advertises a business breeding or selling puppies requires a breeding establishment licence from their local council.  

Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Driving licences

A driving licence is needed to drive most vehicles on the public road. Licences are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). Application forms are available from local vehicle licensing offices, MOT centres and from main post office branches.

The address of the Agency is:

DVA

Driver Licensing Division
County Hall
Castlerock Road
Waterside
Coleraine
County Londonderry
BT51 3TB

Tel: 0845 402 4000 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Email:dvlni@doeni.gov.uk

Contact details of MOT centres are available at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Driving instructors

Anyone who gives professional paid instruction in driving a vehicle must be registered as an Approved Driving Instructor or hold a trainee’s licence to give instruction. Further information is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Application forms are available from:

The Register of Approved Driving Instructors

DVA Testing
66 Balmoral Road
Malone Lower
Belfast
BT12 6QL

Tel: 028 9054 7933

Entertainments in public

Two types of entertainment licence are available from your local council.  The first is an indoor entertainment licence which covers entertainment such as music, dancing, singing, indoor sports such as boxing, wrestling, judo or karate or billiards, pool, snooker or darts, theatrical performances or circus shows.  Outdoor entertainment licences cover public musical entertainment held entirely or mainly in the open air on private land, whether or not an admission charge is made.

Certain events may be exempt from the need for a licence such as garden fetes, athletic events, public exhibitions of work and music or singing which is part of religious worship.  Educational institutions and licensed cinemas are also exempt in certain circumstances.

Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Applications for entertainment licences can be made online at www.gov.uk

Film and video shows

Subject to certain exceptions, premises may not be used for the public showing of films or videos unless they are licensed by the local council. There is an exemption for premises used less than six days a year and for showings conducted by non-commercial organisations, which are covered by an exemption certificate.

Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Firearms and ammunition

In most cases, anyone wishing to possess, buy or acquire a firearm (including certain airguns) or ammunition must be covered by a firearms certificate granted by the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). .

Further information is available online at www.psni.police.uk

Application forms for a firearms certificate can be obtained by telephoning 08456008000, e-mailing the Firearms and Explosives Branch on firearms@psni.pnn.police.uk or by downloading from www.psni.police.uk

Once completed, forms should be sent to:

Firearms and Explosives Branch

PSNI Lisnasharragh
42 Montgomery Road
Belfast
BT6 9LD

Anyone dealing in firearms or ammunition must also apply to the Chief Constable of the PSNI for a firearms dealer’s certificate.

Fireworks

A fireworks licence is needed to purchase, possess or use fireworks (with the exception of indoor fireworks and sparklers). If you intend to hold a fireworks display in your garden you should apply for a category 2 fireworks licence (licences are unlikely to be granted for displays held between 11pm and 7am).  

Application forms may be downloaded from www.nidirect.gov.uk

A separate licence is required for display type fireworks and a licence will only be granted if the Department of Justice is satisfied that the applicant has relevant training or experience. Application forms for display-type fireworks can be downloaded from www.nidirect.gov.uk

For further information, contact:

Firearms and Explosives Branch

Department of Justice
Block B
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast
BT43SG

Tel: 0300 200 7881
Website: www.nidirect.gov.uk

Advice is also available from the Environmental Health Department of your local council.

Retailers who wish to sell fireworks to the public need to be registered with the Department of Justice or have a licence from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.  They can only sell fireworks (except indoor fireworks and sparklers) to people with a valid licence; all fireworks sold must meet British or European safety standards; and they must keep records of all sales.  Persons under the age of 18 cannot purchase fireworks of any description.  

Fishing

Licences are required to fish with a rod in Northern Ireland; depending on the area in which you fish, licences may be issued by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) or the Loughs Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC).  

A map of the different fishing areas and more information about the types of licence needed can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

No licence is needed to fish at sea except when fishing for salmon or sea trout when a game licence from either DCAL or FCILC is required.

A permit to fish can be issued by the owner of a fishery for the temporary right to fish in that fishery.  Permits in Northern Ireland can be issued by a private individual or company, an angling club or DCAL.

For further information or to purchase DCAL licences or permits contact:

DCAL Angling

Causeway Exchange
1-7 Bedford Street
Belfast
BT1 7FB

Tel: 028 9151 3101
Email: dcalangling@dcalni.gov.uk
Website: www.dcalni.gov.uk

For further information on FCILC licences contact:

Loughs Agency

22 Victoria Road
Londonderry
BT47 2AB

Tel: 028 7134 2100
Email: general@loughs-agency.org
Website: www.loughs-agency.org

Fruit machines

See Amusement machines.

Fundraising events

The laws on fundraising are complex. A licence or some other form of permission may be needed for some activities.

For more information, contact:

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland

257 Lough Road
Lurgan
Craigavon
BT66 6NQ
Tel: 028 3832 0220

Email: admin@charitycommissionni.org.uk
Website: www.charitycommissionni.org.uk

Gambling

See also Amusement machines, Bingo clubs, Gaming clubs, Lotteries and raffles.

In Northern Ireland, the courts and district councils licence betting in bookmaking offices and gambling activities such as the use, supply and maintenance of gaming machines, gaming in bingo clubs, small scale amusements with prizes, and local lotteries; the Department of Social Development (DSD) licences track betting; and the PSNI enforces the law.

For further information, contact:

The Social Policy Unit

Department of Social Development
4th Floor
Lighthouse Building
1 Cromac Place
Gasworks Buildings Park
Ormeau Road
Belfast
BT7 2JB

Tel: 028 9082 9521 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Email: social.policy@dsdni.gov.uk.

Gaming clubs

Casinos are banned in Northern Ireland; the law on the types of gaming that may take place in private members or licensed premises is complex and legal advice should be sought before organising this sort of activity.

Guns

See Firearms and ammunition.

House to house collections

House to house collections must be authorised by a licence issued by the PSNI station for each local area where collections are to be carried out, or if house to house collections are to take place throughout the whole of Northern Ireland, an Exemption Order can be obtained from the Charities Branch of the Department of Social Development (DSD).

Further information and guidance from the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is available online at www.charitycommissionni.org.uk.

Contact details for your local PSNI station can be found online at www.psni.police.uk

Hunting and selling game

You must have a licence from the Department of the Environment to kill or take certain types of wild birds and animals. The law also imposes restrictions on when and where you can hunt; hunting at night is generally illegal and certain animals can only be hunted at certain times of the year. Permission will be needed from the landowner or anyone else who has hunting rights over the land.  You will need the proper licenses and permissions if firearms are to be used and you must never trespass on land in search of game.

A game dealer’s licence allowing the sale of game is no longer required although you must make sure the animal was lawfully killed.

For further information, contact:

The Wildlife Management and Licensing Team

Environment and Heritage Service
Biodiversity Unit
Klondyke Building
Cromac Avenue
Gasworks Business Park
Belfast
BT7 2JA

Tel: 028 9056 9605
Website: www.doeni.gov.uk

Kennels

A licence from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is required to run boarding kennels for cats or dogs, including kennels run from a private home.  You must show that you have the necessary qualifications or experience to run such an establishment and that the facilities and premises meet animal health, safety and welfare standards.

Application forms are available online at www.dardni.gov.uk.

Larger goods vehicle drivers

From 1 January 2013, certain larger vehicles can be driven without a larger goods vehicle (LGV) licence.  A list of vehicles that can be driven with a normal full driver’s licence can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Larger goods vehicles with a maximum authorised mass (the total weight of the vehicle plus the maximum weight it can carry) of over 3.5 tonnes require a higher category of licence which involve completing additional theory and practical driving tests. The category of licence required, together with age restrictions on applicants, can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Applicants for higher categories of licence must complete an application form and medical report form which are available from MOT centres and from main post office branches. Contact details of MOT centres at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Completed application forms should be sent to:

DVA

Driver Licensing Division
County Hall
Castlerock Road
Waterside
Coleraine
County Londonderry
BT51 3TB

Tel: 0845 4024 000 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)
Email:dvlni@doeni.gov.uk.

Lotteries or raffles

Lotteries and raffles in Northern Ireland are unlawful unless they are part of the National Lottery or they fall within certain exceptions.  

Small lotteries or raffles held as part of an exempt entertainment such as a fete, bazaar, dinner or dance or sporting event are permissible so long as certain conditions are met.  One of these conditions is that the PSNI must be informed at least 7 days beforehand that the entertainment is to take place; contact details for your local PSNI station can be found online at www.psni.police.uk

Private lotteries or raffles are allowed if the sale of tickets is confined to members of the local branch of a club or society or to those who live or work on the same premises. Restrictions and conditions on tickets, proceeds and advertisements apply.

Society lotteries or raffles are permitted if they are held by non-commercial clubs or societies and the proceeds of the lottery or raffle are used for the purposes of the society. Restrictions and conditions on the running of the lottery or raffle apply. If a club or society wishes to hold a society lottery or raffle then it must apply for registration to the district council where its office or head office is situated and must serve a copy of the application for registration on the district commander of the PSNI for that area. Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk and contact details for local police stations can be found online at www.psni.police.uk/.

For further advice and information, contact your local council or the Social Policy Unit, Department of Social Development, 4th Floor, Lighthouse Building, 1 Cromac Place, Gasworks Business Park, Ormeau Road, Belfast, BT7 2JB, tel: 02890829521, e-mail: social.policy@dsdni.gov.uk or look at the guide to the law on lotteries produced by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action which can be found online at www.nicva.org

Market traders

See Street trading.

Marriage

Both parties must submit their completed marriage notice forms, relevant documents, declarations and fees to the Registrar of Marriages in the district where the marriage is to take place.  Forms can be downloaded from www.nidirect.gov.uk

Normally, notice should be given around 8 weeks before the marriage although 10 weeks is recommended if either party has been married before.  Contact details for District Registrars can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

For more information, see Getting married.

Metal detectors

It is illegal to search for archaeological objects with a metal detector without a licence to excavate.  Licences can be obtained from the Department of the Environment; application forms can be downloaded from www.doeni.gov.uk

Metal detectors cannot be used on any archaeological site or any historical monument without the prior consent of the Department of the Environment.  On private land, you will need the landowner’s permission to enter, search and/or dig on land.

Further information is available by contacting the NIEA using the details above and requesting their leaflet on Metal Detecting, Archaeology and the Law or looking online at www.doeni.gov.uk

For more information, see Keeping lost, found and uncollected goods.

Minibuses

If you are a driver of a minibus which can carry between 9 and 16 passengers, you will usually need a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) entitlement added to your licence by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

You will not require a PCV entitlement if you drive a minibus for an organisation under the minibus or community bus scheme; for further details of what is covered by this scheme look online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

If you passed your driving test before 1 January 1997, you may be able to drive a minibus without a PCV entitlement on a “not for hire or reward” basis provided your licence has not been medically restricted.  “Not for hire or reward” means that you cannot accept payment, either in cash or in kind, made by or on behalf of the passengers of the vehicle.

If you passed your driving test after 1 January 1997, you may be able to drive a minibus without a PCV entitlement on behalf of a non-commercial organisation for social purposes if you are aged over 21 and have held a full car licence for at least 2 years and you receive no payment other than out of pocket expenses.  There are restrictions on the weight of minibus you can drive in these circumstances and you can only drive within the UK.  

Further information is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

A minibus also requires a PSV licence; for further information, see Public service vehicles.  

If you are operating a minibus for hire and reward (i.e. for payment) you will also require a Transport NI licence and you may also require a Bus Operator’s licence.  Further information is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk.

Minicabs

See Taxis.

Model aircraft

A licence is not required to use model aircraft or similar model-controlled equipment so long as the model is no heavier than 20kg (including batteries), but the operator of the model must not recklessly or negligently allow the model aircraft to endanger persons or property and must comply with certain other restrictions. Details of these restrictions and of the exemptions required for large model aircraft weighing more than 20kg is available from the Civil Aviation Authority online at www.caa.co.uk

Motor salvage operators

See Scrap metal dealers.

Music licensing

If you play recorded music in public in any business context, you are legally required to get a PRS for Music and a PPL licence.

Any establishment where recorded music is played in public, whether CD, radio, TV, on telephone systems or the internet will require these two licences. This is not limited to premises where members of the general public have access such as pubs, shops, gyms, but also offices, factories and even the back room of a shop.

Even if you use your premises only for live performances, you will still be required to have a licence from PRS for Music.

You may obtain a PRS for Music licence from the Performing Rights Society Limited (PRS) For Music. The address of PRS is:

29/33 Berners Street
London
W1T 3AB

Tel: 0800 068 4828
Email: musiclicence@prsformusic.com
Website: www.prsformusic.com.

You can obtain a PPL licence from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL). The address of PPL is:

1 Upper James Street
London
W1F 9DE

Tel: 020 7534 1000
Email: ppnb@ppluk.com
Website: www.ppluk.com

Nursing and residential homes

Nursing and residential care homes must be registered with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). Further information and applications forms for registration can be obtained by contacting:

RQIA

9th Floor Riverside Tower
5 Lanyon Place
Belfast
BT1 3BT

Tel: 02890517500
Email: registration@rqia.org.uk
Website: www.rqia.org.uk

Pawnbrokers

See Consumer credit businesses.

Pedlars and hawkers

If you sell goods or services door to door, or if you generally keep on the move, and sell goods or services on the street, you may need a pedlar’s certificate. This is an annual certificate granted by the chief officer of police in the applicant’s district which allows them to trade as a pedlar anywhere within Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Applicants must be over 17 years of age, prove that they are of good character and that they intend to trade as a pedlar before being granted a licence.

Applications should be made to the police in the area where you have resided for the previous month; contact details for your local PSNI station can be found online at www.psni.police.uk

Some trades, for example, the sale of food, fish or fruit, and commercial travellers are exempt from the need for a pedlar’s certificate.

Further information is available online at www.gov.uk

If you do not meet the definition of a pedlar, you may be classified as a mobile street trader and require a street trading licence.  For further information see Street trading.

Pet shops

A licence from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is required to open a pet shop. Further information can be obtained from:

DARD

Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Ballymiscaw
Belfast
BT4 3SB

Tel: 0300 200 7840 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  

Complaints about the way animals are kept should be made to DARD or to the local PSNI who will, if necessary, contact the relevant DARD officer. You can also contact an animal welfare organisation; the RSPCA’s cruelty and advice line (0300 1234 999) is open 24 hours a day.

Public service vehicles

Public service vehicles (PSVs) are those that carry passengers for a fee.  There are two categories; large PSVs which can carry more than 8 passengers such as buses and small PSVs which can carry eight passengers or less such as taxis.

A PSV licence from the Department of the Environment is required.  Application forms are available from local vehicle licensing offices, MOT centres and from main post office branches or can be downloaded from www.nidirect.gov.uk

Contact details of of MOT centres are available at www.nidirect.gov.uk. Completed application forms should be sent to the MOT test centre where you wish the test to be carried out and you should allow at least 6 weeks for a renewal application.

You may also require additional entitlements on your driving licence to drive a PSV. For more information, see Driving licences, Minibuses, Taxis.

Riding stables

Businesses which keep horses to hire out for riding and/or for riding instruction must be licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). You must be over 18 years of age and be suitably qualified to apply for a licence. You should contact your local Divisional Veterinary Office to obtain a licence application form; contact details are available online at www.dardni.gov.uk.

Road haulage

Road haulage operators must be licensed by Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVLNI). Applications must be made at least 2 months before you require a licence.

For more information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk

Rubbish skips

A permit from the local council is needed for a skip to be placed on a public highway which includes roads, grass verges and pavements, but no permission is needed to place a skip on private land such as your own driveway.  Many skip hire companies will have their own skip-placing permit as well as a waste removal licence, so check before booking.  

Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Saunas

Local councils may require premises which offer saunas and other forms of ‘special treatment’, for example, massages, steam baths, manicures, electrolysis or body piercing to be licensed.  Contact the environmental health department of your local council for further information. Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk.

See also Beauty specialists.

Scrap metal dealers

Anyone dealing in scrap metal or operating a motor salvage business may require a waste management licence and/or a pollution prevention control (PPC) permit.

For further information on waste management licences, visit www.doeni.gov.uk.

To apply for a waste management licence, contact the NIEA or download an application form online at www.doeni.gov.uk

Certain activities are exempt from the requirement for a waste management licence but still require registration with the NIEA, these may include the activities of a scrap metal dealer or a motor salvage operator; for further details contact the NIEA or look online at www.doeni.gov.uk.

The law surrounding the need for a pollution prevention control permit is complex and specialist advice should be obtained.  Certain categories of activity are regulated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) whilst others are regulated by district councils.  

For further information on PPC permits and for advice on applications contact:

Stephanie McCauley
NIEA
Klondyke Building
Cromac Avenue
Gasworks Business Park
Lower Ormeau Road
Belfast
BT7 2JA

Tel: 028 9056 9441
E-mail: stephanie.mccauley@doeni.gov.uk or look online at www.doeni.gov.uk

Sex establishments

If you wish to run a sex establishment you will need a licence from the local council unless the council waives the requirement because it would be unreasonable or inappropriate for you to have one. Sex establishment are also known as sex shops ie premises that sell sex toys, books or videos or a sex cinema which shows 18R films. In order to hold a licence, you must be at least 18; have been resident in the UK for the last 6 months or be an incorporated UK body; not be disqualified from holding a licence; and not refused a licence or renewal within the last 12 months.  

Further information is available online at www.gov.uk

Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

Street collections

In order to collect money for charitable or other purposes in a street or public place, an organisation must obtain a licence from the local PSNI station for each area where a collection will take place. Applications should give as much notice as possible; the minimum requirement is at least one month before the proposed collection date. Collectors must be at least 16 years old and cannot be paid; they must be volunteers. Applications should give details of your group and aims and the percentage of your collection proceeds that will go to the charity or fund you are supporting.

Further information and guidance can be obtained from The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland can be contacted at:

257 Lough Road
Lurgan
Craigavon
BT66 6NQ

Tel: 028 3832 0220
Email: admin@charitycommissionni.org.uk

You can also get information from the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) online at www.nicva.org

Contact details for your local PSNI station can be found online at www.psni.police.uk.

Street trading

A licence is required for every person who sells goods, or offers to supply a service in a street or public place, whether or not from a stationary position.  There are 3 categories of street trading licence; a full licence to trade from a designated permanent pitch, a licence to trade as a mobile trader or a temporary licence to trade, usually granted for a period of up to 7 days. Applicants must be 18 or over, and the local council can impose restrictions on the trading location and the type of goods or service that the licence covers.

Licences are available from the local council for the area in which you want to trade; contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk.

You do not require a street trading licence if you hold a pedlar’s licence, if you sell newspapers or magazines from a bag that you carry or if you visit homes and businesses.

See also Pedlars and hawkers.

Sunday trading

A shop with a floor area of 280 square metres or less can open on Sundays with no restrictions. Shops with an area of more than 280 square metres (“large shops”) may be allowed to open on a Sunday provided they fall within one of the following exemptions.

Certain types of shop are exempt from Sunday opening prohibitions such as farm shops, registered pharmacies, petrol filling stations, shops at railway and bus stations. Large shops are permitted to open at any time between 1pm and 6pm on Sundays with the exception of Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.  

District Councils have the power to designate an area a holiday resort and large shops in these areas can open at any time on Sunday on up to 18 Sundays between 1 March and 30 September in any calendar year with the exception of Easter Sunday. In order to use this exemption, the large shop owner must notify the council of the dates of the Sundays involved and must give at least 14 days notice and these notifications must be kept on a council register.  Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

For further information on Sunday Trading laws look online at www.dsdni.gov.uk.

Taping at home

Home taping of TV or radio programmes to allow viewing or listening at a more convenient time is permitted by law. However, recording a broadcast for any other reason may be an infringement of copyright.  

You do not need a TV licence to catch-up on TV programmes through the BBC iPlayer although you do need a licence if you use BBC iPlayer to watch or record a programme at the same time it is broadcast to the public.  Further information and guidance is available online at iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk.

Tattoo parlours

A licence from the local council is required to operate a tattoo parlour or to carry out electrolysis or piercing.  Further information is available online at www.gov.uk

Contact details for local councils can be found online at www.nidirect.gov.uk

See also Beauty specialists and Saunas.

Taxis

Professional taxi and minicab (private hire vehicle) drivers require a taxi driver’s licence issued by the Road Transport Licensing Division.  Applicants must be 18 or over; have held a full car licence for at least a year; be medically fit; and must also complete an Access NI form to ensure they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence. Further information is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk.

Any person or organisation that provides taxi services in Northern Ireland also requires a taxi operator’s licence. All taxi firms must be licensed taxi operators, and all taxi drivers must be affiliated to a taxi operator or obtain their own taxi operator’s licence. The only exceptions are those persons or organisations who provide transport solely in connection with a wedding or courtesy transport as part of another business which is not taxiing eg funeral undertaking.  Applications forms and further information is available online at www.nidirect.gov.uk.

You will also require a PSV licence for the vehicle you wish to use as a taxi.  

For further information see Public Service Vehicles.

Television licences

Most people need to have a TV licence to watch TV.  If you are over 75 you can apply for a free licence which will last for 3 years so long as you can provide a National Insurance number.  If you are blind or severely sight impaired, or if you live in residential care, you can get a licence at a reduced cost.  

For further information on who needs a license, ways to pay or to buy a licence online go to www.tvlicensing.co.uk or telephone 03007906131.

For more information about television sets and DVD or video recorders, see Television licences.

Tree felling

At present, a licence is not required to fell trees; however, the Northern Ireland Executive is planning to introduce licences for felling trees in woodlands of 0.2 hectares or more.

Waste disposal sites

The licensing of waste disposal sites is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. For more information on waste management licences, look online at www.doeni.gov.uk

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