Roving Canal Traders get legal advice that they are unlikely to need a Street Trader’s Licence

In 2021 a group of Roving Canal Traders on Canal & River Trust (CRT) waterways raised funds for a Legal Opinion on whether it was lawful for a Local Authority to demand that a Roving Canal Trader should hold a local authority Street Traders Licence for the area. They have now obtained a Legal Opinion that makes a very strong case indeed that the CRT Roving Trading Licence should cover all of their trading activities, with a few exceptions.

The traders took this step in the face of a number of Roving Canal Traders being threatened in the past three years with enforcement action by different local authorities for not having a Street Traders Licence.

In most cases where local authority officers have queried or challenged a Roving Canal Trader’s entitlement to trade from their boat, this has been due to a lack of awareness on that officer’s part of the Roving Canal Trader licensing regime and, when this is explained to them, they have allowed the trader to continue without interference. However, some local authority officers have taken an intransigent stance, insisting that in spite of holding a Roving Canal Trading licence, they must also hold a street trading consent in order to trade and if not, they must stop trading. One trader was threatened with enforcement action if they did not cease to trade and so had no choice but to shut up shop and move on to another Local Authority area in order to earn a living.

A number of NBTA members are also Roving Canal Traders. If you are told by a local authority officer that you cannot trade unless you have a Street Traders Licence, you can give them a copy of the Legal Opinion. The document is available free of charge either by request to or from the Roving Canal Traders Association