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Regulation of Mobile Food Businesses

In the Basildon Borough mobile food businesses are regulated by the joint authority of Basildon Council, Essex County Council and the Essex Police.

There is often confusion over the rules and regulations which apply to mobile food vendors, particularly where terms such as "licence" are used.

We hope the following information will help clarify the situation for mobile food businesses operating within the Basildon Borough, and particularly for those who are thinking of starting a mobile food business. See also Food Business Start-Up Advice.

Before a mobile food business can start trading in the Basildon Borough it must have the necessary registration, licence and permission.

  • Registration - Food Businesses Compulsory - your business must have been properly registered for at least 28 days before you can start trading.   Businesses must be registered with the local council for the area in which the business vehicle is stored when not trading. Registrations will be checked.   

Your mobile food premises vehicle must have:

  • A valid certificate of road worthiness (MOT)
  • A valid vehicle excise licence (Road tax)
  • A valid vehicle insurance certificate

Sites where a mobile food business will be permitted to trade.

Some local authorities use their powers under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to declare streets within their area to be either, "Prohibited Streets", "Licensed Streets" or "Consent Streets" and charge vendors for occupying approved "pitches".

Although Basildon Council has adopted the powers granted under the Act to make such declarations, the power has never been used.

In Basildon the joint authorities of Basildon Council, Essex County Council and the Police have chosen to regulate mobile food vehicles and trailers using powers available to them under other legislation.

In general, this means that the joint authorities named above will ensure that your mobile food business will only be allowed to operate where:

  • it possesses the required registrations, licenses and/or permission
  • it does not infringe parking restrictions or regulations
  • it does not cause any form of nuisance to local residents or to the public generally.

Existing regulations will also take into account your home base if it is used to keep or prepare food associated with the business or if it is used to store gas bottles. The storage of gas bottles is a health and safety concern.

Both static and door to door mobile food businesses are subject to the following regulatory controls, all of which can affect their right to trade and which are administered and enforced by the joint authority of, Basildon Borough Council - responsible for regulating:

  • Unauthorised trade on a site governed by civil parking enforcement legislation. There are roads in the Borough for which the enforcement of parking restrictions is the responsibility of Basildon Council. 

  • Pollution Control - Nuisances relating to either the mobile food business itself (e.g. from generators or ice cream chimes), or from its customers, their cars and audio equipment. Excessive noise can constitute a statutory nuisance and contravene the requirements of the Licensing Act .

  • Litter from a mobile food business. You can be held responsible in law for any litter generated by your business, so provide bins etc. and take measures to keep the site litter free. 

  • Commercial waste and recycling  by mobile food businesses. Waste generated by a business is classified as Trade Waste, not domestic waste, and must be disposed of as trade waste. Environmental enforcement officers can demand to see a copy of your trade waste disposal agreement. 

  • Vermin attracted by a mobile food business. You must take necessary steps to discourage vermin. 

  • Fouling of drains and land (usually land illegally used as toilets and/or illegally used to dispose of waste oil). Illegal use of drains and/or land for use as a toilet or for the disposal of oil is a criminal offence.

  • Health and Safety - Training in relation to storage of gas bottles on board the mobile food vehicle and at the 'home' premises. Health and Safety at Work Act.

Essex County Council's Highways Department is responsible for regulating,

  • Mobile food premises advertising on the highway
  • Obstructions on the highway, including obstruction by mobile food trader
  • Unauthorised structures on the highway
  • Danger or interruption to traffic caused by roadside sales
  • Unauthorised trading on a site governed by parking restrictions, on major roads in the Borough. The enforcement of parking restrictions is the responsibility of Essex County Council.

See, Essex County Council Transport and Roads (opens new window) .

Essex Police (opens new window) - responsible for regulating,

  • Mobile food business vehicle certificate of road worthiness (MOT)
  • Mobile food business vehicle excise licence (Road tax)
  • Mobile food business vehicle insurance certificate
  • Dangerously parked vehicles
  • Disorder or noise from unruly customers