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December 12 General Election

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Starting a food business

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Here is a quick guide to setting up a food business in Copeland

Planning Permission

Depending on where you want to run your business you may need planning approval so you should check with our planning department on 01946 598300. You can also visit the planning pages on the website.

Food Registration

It is a legal requirement to register premises used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures).

What is registration?

Registration of premises used for a food business (including market stalls, delivery vehicles and other moveable structures) is required by law. Registration allows us to keep an up to date list of all premises in our area so we can inspect them as required. The frequency of the visits will depend on the type of business and the degree of risk involved.

Who needs to register?

If you run a food business for 5 or more days whether consecutive or not in any 5 consecutive weeks, you must tell (or arrange for someone else to tell) us about any premises you use for storing, selling, distributing or preparing food. Food premises include:

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • cafes
  • shops
  • supermarkets
  • staff canteens
  • warehouses
  • guest houses
  • delivery vehicles
  • buffet cars on trains
  • market and other stalls
  • hot dog and ice cream vans, etc.

If you use vehicles for your food business in connection with permanent premises such as a shop, or warehouse, you only need to tell us how many vehicles you have. You do not need to register each vehicle separately. If you have one or more vehicles but no permanent premises, you must tell us where they are normally kept.

Anyone starting a new food business must register with us at least 28 days before doing so. The majority of premises will have to be registered. However, certain premises are exempt from registration, e.g. some which are already registered for food law purposes, certain agricultural premises, motor cars, tents and marquees (but not stalls), some domestic premises and some village halls.

How do I register?

By completing and returning this registration form.

Registration cannot be refused and there is no charge. If you use premises in more than one local authority area, you must register with each authority separately. You must tick all the boxes which apply to your business, answer all the questions and give all the information requested.

Seasonal businesses operating for a certain period each year should give the dates between which they will be open in answer to question 11.

What happens to the information given on the form?

We will enter the details on a register. The register containing the name of the business (if any), the address, telephone number and the type of business carried on at each property will be open to inspection by the general public. Records of the other information provided will not be publicly available.


Once you have registered you only need to tell us of a change of proprietor or if the nature of the business changes. The new proprietor will have to complete an application form.

Note: These notes are provided for information only and should not be regarded as a complete statement of law.

Others sources of help

Labelling and Trading Standards

Cumbria County Council that can provide important advice on labelling food and other trading issues. 

Published: 12 April 2012 - 11:12am