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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Licence - game dealers

Service outline:

A licence is required to take or kill game and to deal in game.

Game licence legislation dates back to the nineteenth century. Both the Game Act 1831, which applies to England and Wales only, and the Game Licences Act 1860, which applies also to Scotland, deal with similar offences concerning the taking and trading in game without the appropriate licence.

This page provides only a brief overview of licensing requirements and we recommend that you consult the legislation (which can be obtained from from Her Majesty's Stationary Office) or seek advice if you need to know the law in more detail.

Licences to kill or take game

There are four types of game licence, each catering for different periods of the year, taking into account the open seasons for various game birds. They are colour coded and can be purchased from Post Offices. The date and time of issue will be shown on the licence, which will only be valid from that particular time. The licence will, however, expire at midnight of the day on which it is stated to expire. The holder's full name and address and the amount of duty paid must also be shown on the licence.

Not all licences are readily available from stock and there may be a delay in issue, particularly in respect of the occasional licence.

Gamekeeper's Licence

A gamekeeper's employer may obtain an annual gamekeepers licence (at a lower cost (£4.00) than the normal twelve month licence). This permits the gamekeeper to take or kill game on land where his employer has the right to game. The licence is transferable should a new gamekeeper be employed while it is still valid, and only covers a person while they are employed as a gamekeeper.

If a gamekeeper wishes to shoot game on land where his/her employer does not have right to game, then he/she must obtain a licence in their own name.

Licences to deal in game

The Game Act 1831 requires dealers to be licensed in England; the Game Licences Act 1860 extends the provisions relating to the sale of game to Wales and Scotland. The sale of venison is covered by separate legislation under the Deer Act 1991 (England and Wales) and the Deer (Scotland) Act 1959.

Two licences required to trade in certain game species. A council licence and an excise licence.

Council licences are obtained from the local authority and may not be charged for, as local authorities are often content to register dealers for public health purposes.

Excise licences are obtained from the post office at a cost of £4.00; it is a condition of issue that a council licence be produced at the time of application.

The council licence will specify the business premises: an excise licence is required for each one. Both licences expire on 31 July each year. The excise licence must be renewed; the council may not require renewal of their licence, but this should be checked on initial application.

Copies of the Game Act 1831 and Game Licences Act 1860 can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

A copy of the legislation can be viewed at the Council Offices where you can also obtain an application form and a copy of our standard conditions.

Further Information

Key contacts

Contact: Ribble Valley Borough Council

Telephone: 01200 425111

Fax: 01200 414432

Ribble Valley Borough Council, Council Offices, Church Walk, Clitheroe, BB7 2RA

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