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guidance / Advice and FAQs / Business operations

Pavement licensing made permanent – the key changes

Al fresco dining here to stay – UKHospitality secures permanent pavement licensing

Following extensive campaigning by UKHospitality, the Government has announced that the current, temporary, pavement licensing regime has been made permanent, as of 31 March 2024.

What’s happened?

Temporary pavement licensing was introduced by the Government during the pandemic, to allow for hospitality businesses to trade, while also complying with the restrictions in place at the time.

As the temporary changes were about to expire in 2023, UKHospitality convinced the Government to extend the regime for a further two years. We argued that this was a move that was popular with consumers, increased footfall to venues and supported businesses extending their activities.

Following this extension, we have continued our engagement with the Government and pressed them to make these temporary changes permanent, which they have now done.

What do businesses need to know?

  1. 1

    There will be a £500 cap for first time applications and a £350 cap for renewal applications.

  2. 2

    Local authorities will be able to grant licences for a length of their choosing, up to two years. They are encouraged to grant licences for two years as standard.

  3. 3

    The consultation and determination periods will be 14 days each.

  4. 4

    The new guidance makes clear that a minimum width of 2000mm clear space should be provided between the obstacle and the edge of the footway.

    If this is not feasible due to physical constraints, then a minimum width of 1500mm could be regarded as the minimum acceptable distance.

  5. 5

    Existing licence holders can retain their licences granted under the temporary regime until the expiration date on their licence.

Businesses can find the full government guidance here.

How does these changes benefit businesses?

  1. 1


    The change to a permanent pavement licensing regime provides certainty to businesses when planning for the years ahead, particularly if they see outside dining as a key part of their offer.

  2. 2


    The new changes are both low cost and low admin. These were key points put across by UKHospitality in its engagement with Government.

    This is a particular victory as it could save businesses thousands of pounds in application fees, compared to applying for a licence under previous legislation.

  3. 3

    Longer licences

    An encouragement by the Government within the guidance for local authorities to grant licences for two years is critical, and something we campaigned heavily for.

    This will hopefully avoid businesses being granted six-month licences and having to continually go through costly reapproval processes.