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Information for the public

The Activity Centres (Young Persons’ Safety) Act 1995 and the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004 make it a legal requirement for providers of certain adventure activities for young people to undergo an inspection of their safety management systems and hold a licence.

Licensing only applies to those who offer activities to young people under the age of 18 years and who operate in a commercial manner.

Generally, licensing only applies to these activities when they are done in remote or isolated places. For example, climbing on natural terrain requires a licence but climbing on a purpose-built climbing wall does not.

A licence is not required for:

Licensable activities include the following:

Climbing Watersports Trekking Caving
  • Rock climbing
  • Abseiling
  • Ice climbing
  • Gorge walking
  • Ghyll scrambling
  • Sea level traversing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Dragon boating
  • Wave skiing
  • White-water rafting
  • Improvised rafting
  • Sailing
  • Sailboarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Hill walking
  • Mountaineering
  • Fell running
  • Orienteering
  • Pony trekking
  • Off-road cycling
  • Off-piste skiing
  • Caving
  • Pot-holing
  • Mine exploration

This list is not exhaustive.

If you want  to send your child or a child in your care, to an activity centre or provider you can call the Adventure Activities Licensing Service and they will tell you if the centre is licensed or you can check the register.

If you have any further questions about licensing, you contact the Adventure Activities Licensing Service and they will be happy to help.

Important notes:

Licences are issued when the Licensing Authority is satisfied that  the provider's management of safety is satisfactory. Inspection does not include standards of accommodation or service.

The Licensing Service will gladly check the status of centres for you but does not provide a tourist information service.

More information about the Licensing Scheme is available in the Health and Safety Executive publication 'Guidance from the Licensing Authority on the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004'  (L77, ISBN 978-0-7176-6243-2, available from HSE Books Tel: +44 (0)333 202 5070, or good booksellers, price £11.50).

Updated: 2015-05-05