Publication - Advice and guidance

Public entertainment licences for funfairs: guidance

Published: 20 Jul 2017
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Business, industry and innovation, Law and order

Guidance relating to the licensing of funfairs as places of public entertainment under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

8 page PDF

150.4 kB

8 page PDF

150.4 kB

Public entertainment licences for funfairs: guidance
Legislative background

8 page PDF

150.4 kB

Legislative background

Who needs a licence?

5. The licensing of funfairs can be required by section 41 of the 1982 Act. This section enables a licensing authority to direct that a public entertainment licence is necessary for certain types of activity. Section 41(2) of the 1982 Act provides that a “place of public entertainment” is any place where members of the public are admitted or may use any facilities for the purposes of entertainment or recreation [1] .

6. We understand that all the Scottish licensing authorities have decided to operate a public entertainment licensing regime, and also to include funfairs within this.

7. Therefore if you intend to hold a funfair, you should contact the local authority for the location where it will take place.

8. The licensing authority is responsible for considering and granting applications for public entertainment licences. There are separate licensing authorities for every Scottish local authority area, each dealing with applications in their own geographical area. Each application is considered by the particular licensing authority and any enquiries should be made direct to the licensing authority itself.

Types of licence

9. There are two types of public entertainment licence, a full licence and a temporary licence. A full licence can be granted for a period up to three years. A temporary licence can be granted to have effect for a period not exceeding six weeks.

10. The licensing authority may offer the ability to apply for a temporary licence. However there is no obligation for the licensing authority to make provision for temporary licences. Enquiries about the appropriate licence application should be made direct to the local licensing authority.

11. This guidance highlights the difference between the two types of licence, and applicants should consider carefully which would be most appropriate for their needs.

The application process

12. The steps which must be followed in applying for a licence, and the procedure which the local licensing authority follows once they have received an application for a public entertainment licence, are contained within Schedule 1 of the 1982 Act.

13. An application for a public entertainment licence should be made to the licensing authority, together with the appropriate fee.

14. The licensing authority may also request that further documents are required with the application. For funfairs, the documents are likely to be the relevant public liability insurance certificates, the health and safety risk assessment and an event safety plan.


Email: Anne Hampson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road