Licence - distribution of free printed material


Why do I need a permit for the distribution of free literature?

The distribution of free leaflets and other free printed matter can become a problem if they are subsequently dropped as litter in public places. The purpose of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 94B and Schedule 3A is to help control these distributions and associated litter problems.

What is classed as free literature distribution?

 'Free printed matter' includes amongst other things:

  • newspapers
  • leaflets
  • pamphlets
  • cards
  • stickers
  • containers and any similar items.

What does free mean?

Printed matter is free if it is distributed without charge to the persons who receive it.

What does 'distribute' mean?

'Distribute means to give free printed matter out, or offer to make it available, to members of the public. It includes placing it on, or affixing it to, vehicles but does not include putting it inside a building or letter-box. This will also apply to printed material distributed to the public from a vehicle or stand.

What is 'relevant land'?

’Relevant Land’ includes all public places in the open air owned and managed by us. Details of the land that has been designated as relevant land is shown on the map which can be found in the Conditions for Free Distribution of Literature.

What is a 'relevant highway'?

’Relevant Highway’ includes streets and pavements maintainable at the public expense for which we are responsible.

How do I apply for a Free Literature Distribution Permit?

You can download these forms and then complete by hand.

We may use the information provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. We also share this information for auditing purposes.

Complete the Free literature distribution - application form and send this with the correct payment.

instructions on how to pay.

Please note: we must receive the completed application form not less than ten working days before the date you would like to start to distribute free printed matter.

Fees for Licensing Applications

See ourcurrent list of fees 

Are there any exemptions from having a permit?

This legislation does not apply and consent under this legislation is not required for the distribution of free printed matter:

  • by or on behalf of a charity within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993, where the free printed matter relates to or is intended for the benefit of the charity
  • where the distribution is for political purposes or for the purposes of a religion or belief
  • by a person who distributes the free printed matter by delivering it into a building or letter-box.
  • mobile distribution of printed literature by a Public Body or Public Service such as: Local Authority, Police, Fire Service, for public information will not be subject to the need to apply for formal consent. But the distributor will need to notify us and will be expected to comply with the Standard Consent Conditions 10 to 11 and 13 to 18.
  • If any distribution is taking place in connection with a space hire agreement with Derby Live, including having a stall or trailer and intend to make free printed literature available.  Consent to distribute free printed literature is included within your space hire fee. You will not be issued with a separate permit or badge but you will be required to comply with Standard Consent Conditions 4 to 5, 7 to 8, 10 to 12, 14 to 20 and 22. These conditions will be detailed on your permission issued by Derby Live.  Mobile distributors not covered by the exemptions for charitable, religious/belief or political purposes or are not covered by the above will be required to apply for a permit and comply with all conditions. This applies in addition to the booking agreement with Derby Live.

What are Designated Streets and Places?

We have identified areas, so that the distribution of free printed material within those areas is prohibited without the prior consent of us. If you wish to distribute any free printed matter on the relevant land and relevant highway within those areas you must obtain the prior consent of us.

Consent is not currently required from us if you wish to distribute free printed matter on a relevant highway or on relevant land which is not included on the map.

How do I renew my Free Literature Distribution Permit?

Complete the Free literature distribution - renewal application form and send this with the correct payment. See our Licensing current fees

Can I distribute my free printed material from a stand or table?

If you would like to distribute your free printed matter from a stand, table or similar you will need to make a booking and pay the appropriate fee through Derby Live. The fee charged includes distributing your free printed matter from the stand, table or similar.

How do I contact Derby Live?

For details and applications for a space hire agreement in the city centre, contact Derby Live on 01332 640848 or by email

Unsuccessful Free Literature Distribution Permit Applications

We reserve the right to refuse to give consent to any applicant where we consider that the proposed distribution would likely lead to defacement of the designated land. Where this happens the applicant will be informed of the decision and the reasons for refusal. Examples of where this might occur is where an applicant has caused defacement on a previous occasion or where there is a distribution planned that is of such a scale and/or planned in such a way that the distributors are unable to meet the standard conditions.

We reserve the right to refuse to give consent if the applicant has been convicted of an offence of distributing free printed matter without consent within the last five years, or paid a fixed penalty notice relating to this offence in the last three years.

Refused applicants may appeal to the Magistrates' Court against the refusal.

Opening times

Day Times
Monday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Tuesday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Wednesday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Thursday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Friday 9.00am to 12.45pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Useful forms


Contact details

Post address:
Licensing Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 641951
Minicom: 01332 640666
Fax: 01332 643299
Licensing Team
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street