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Can ice cream vans park anywhere? A comprehensive guide

Ice cream vans have been a staple of summer fun for decades, serving up delicious treats to children and adults alike. However, operating an ice cream van isn't as simple as driving around and selling ice cream.

woman licking ice cream

There are several regulations and guidelines to consider, especially when it comes to parking. So, can ice cream vans park anywhere? Let's dive in and find out.

1. Gathering the essentials: Licences and permits

Before we can get into the specifics of where you can park your ice cream van, it's crucial to understand the licences and permits you'll need to operate. In most cases, these licences dictate where you can conduct your ice cream van business and can influence your parking options.

1.1 Ice cream van licence

Firstly, to sell ice cream, you'll need the appropriate licence. This is known as an ice cream van licence or a street trader's licence. The requirements for this licence can vary depending on how and where you plan to sell your ice cream. For example, you'll need a licence if you're selling from a kiosk, a movable stall, a bike or van on the public highway, or even if you're placing chairs on the pavement outside your ice-cream parlour.

However, if you're selling on private land and are at least seven metres away from the public highway, you may not need a street trading licence. But, you'll need the landowner's permission to do so.

1.2 Applying for a licence

To apply for a street trading licence, you should contact your local council or apply online. There's often a fee involved, and you'll need to renew your licence periodically.

Ensure to factor these ongoing costs into your business plan. Check out our guide on how much money an ice cream van makes in the UK to see how to factor costs into your business plan.

Remember, trading without a licence could result in a fine of up to £1,000. Similarly, not adhering to the conditions of your licence can also result in a fine.

2. Registering with environmental health

In addition to a licence, all food businesses must register with the relevant local authority. This rule applies whether you're selling, cooking, storing, handling, preparing, or distributing food.

It's critical to register your business at least 28 days before you start trading. Registration is free, and all applications are accepted. Failure to register can result in a fine or even a prison sentence.

3. Applying for approval of a food establishment

If your business handles animal produce, including dairy products, you'll likely need to apply for approval as a food establishment. This rule is in place to prevent the spread of disease. However, if you sell your ice cream directly to the public or other businesses in a localised and restricted way, you might be exempt from this rule.

4. Understanding ice cream van insurance

It's also crucial to have the right insurance for your ice cream business. If you employ staff, you'll need employer's liability insurance, unless the only employees are close family members.

Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but it's essential for food businesses. It covers your legal bills if any member of the public is injured or if property is damaged by your business.

At Mobilers Insurance, we've been arranging insurance for your business needs since 1996. That’s over 20 years of experience that we can put into finding you our best prices from the market!

We've covered everything from catering vehicles and ice cream vans, to Jiffy trucks and market stalls we love the industries we work within and the people and businesses that we arrange insurance for. So, why not give us a call at 01384 429 901 to see if we can arrange cover for your business?

5. Adhering to employment regulations

If you're employing staff for your ice cream business, you'll need to follow employment regulations. These include minimum wage laws, the Employment Rights Act, health and safety regulations, and employer's liability insurance.

6. Staying on the right side of the law: Ice cream van rules and regulations

Once you have your business set up and your documents in order, it's time to hit the road. But wait, can ice cream vans park anywhere? Not quite! There are several rules and regulations that dictate where ice cream vans can park and operate. Let's explore these rules in detail.

6.1 Using your chimes

If you have an ice cream van, your chimes are a crucial part of your business, alerting potential customers to your presence. However, there are strict regulations on when and how you can sound your chimes. For example, your chimes should not be louder than 80 decibels or last more than 12 seconds.

There are also rules about playing your chimes near other vans, hospitals, schools, and places of worship. You can read the full Code of Practice on the government website.

6.2 Where can ice cream vans park and trade?

There are regulations about where you can trade, which can affect where you park your van. For example, many local authorities won't let you stop near a school or playground. Each authority has different rules, so it's best to check what applies to your area.

6.3 Food hygiene regulations

Wherever you sell your ice cream, you'll need to comply with food hygiene regulations. These rules ensure that the products you sell are safe to eat.

Every business that sells food needs to set up a food management system based on what the Food Standards Agency (FSA) calls Hazard Analysis and Critical Point (HACCP). If you only sell pre-packaged ice cream and lollies, your HACCP will be less detailed than if you also make ice cream to sell.

7. Can ice cream vans park anywhere?

Now that we understand the regulations, let's return to our main question: can ice cream vans park anywhere? While it's not an easy yes or no answer, there are some general guidelines to consider.

7.1 Parking and trading in the UK

In the UK, ice cream vans can park in one place for only 15-30 minutes to sell ice cream if there's a queue of customers waiting to be served. This restriction is in place to protect static shops that pay more in local rates.

Also, vending within 400 meters from the site they have parked at on the same day is prohibited, and should only be done from 9 am to 7 pm unless granted a special permit to sell outside of the usual hours.

8. Can ice cream vans park outside schools?

This is a question many ice cream van operators have, and the answer varies depending on local regulations. In some areas, ice cream vans are prohibited from parking near schools, while in others, it's allowed. Check with your local council to understand the specific rules in your area.

9. Can ice cream vans sell anywhere?

In general, ice cream vans can sell anywhere as long as they comply with local laws and regulations. This includes obtaining the necessary licences and permits, following food hygiene regulations, and adhering to trading and parking rules.

However, there may be restrictions on selling in certain areas, such as near schools or hospitals, so it's always best to check with your local authority.

10. Conclusion

children running to the ice cream van

Operating an ice cream van requires you to navigate a complex set of rules and regulations, particularly when it comes to parking and selling.

While it might seem overwhelming, understanding these guidelines can help you operate your business effectively and legally. So, can ice cream vans park anywhere? The answer is no, but with the right knowledge, preparation, and adherence to the rules, you can find the perfect spot for your business.

Remember, at Mobilers Insurance, we're here to help. Our team has over 20 years of experience in arranging insurance for businesses like yours, so don't hesitate to reach out if you need assistance. Call us at 01384 429 901 today!

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