Certificated Sites - The Camping and Caravanning Club
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Setting Up A Certificated Site

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What is a Certificated Site?

A Certificated Site, or CS as we refer to them, are small, privately run campsites that can accommodate up to 5 caravans or motorhomes, and 10 tents. They are for use by members of our Club, although you can join non-members on site and earn commission for doing so (details of which can be found in the ‘What Else’ section of the guide).

Certificated Sites can be open all year round, or you can specify a camping season such as March to October for example, and can specify whether you require advanced booking at the site or not.

 It’s at your discretion what kind of site you wish to provide, whether it be a basic hideaway or a fully facilitated family friendly set-up! You can be tent-only, caravan-only, or accept all units….just as long as you meet the basic requirements; the rest is up to you!

How to set up a Certificated Site

So what are the 'Basic Requirements'?

In terms of your land, we’ll need:

  • At least half an acre available for the site, this needs to be fairly level land.
  • Safe access – based on an unrestricted view either side of your egress point. If the approach road to the site is fairly narrow or single track, there should be enough passing places to ensure the safety of all road users. Very importantly, we will need the written agreement of all parties that have ownership rights on the access road.


    Before you are issued with a Certificate, we’ll need you to provide (within 100 metres of the camping area, and not across any roads):


  • 1 x drinking water tap with a non-return valve
  • 1 x rinsing water tap (for rinsing out the toilet cassettes after emptying). *These two taps need to have a good, clear distance between them and signed accordingly
  • A chemical disposal point (CDP) for emptying toilet cassettes into; there’s more information about what a CDP is at the back of this guide.
  • Dry waste disposal – this can be something as simple as a dustbin that is emptied regularly, or you may wish to take this a step further by providing separate recycling bins.
  • Public Liability Insurance; you may already be covered for the site on your existing policy (if you have one) so it’s worth checking this, but if not, we can provide you with the contact details of our own Club Care Insurance services who offer tailor made policies from as little as £67.30 a year.
  • You’ll need to display a sign (provided by the Club) at the entrance of your site.
  • What are the costs involved?

    All of the services that the Club provide from the point of enquiry onwards are free of charge. Because our Certificated Sites are exclusive to our members we provide this service to landowners wishing to join our network.

    Set-up Costs: The costs you will incur are those involved with setting up the site and maintaining it. It’s always difficult to give an actual figure as much of the cost will depend on how much work you are able to do yourself, and what facilities you already have in place. Factors such as already having a water supply to the field and being able to dig the hole for the CDP yourself will all bring costs down.

    Based on the responses of a recent questionnaire sent out to our current CS owners, the largest percentage of owners stated that the set-up costs were approximately £3000, however they also stated that they felt these costs were reasonable. If you consider that you could be operating your site for 10 or 20 years plus, the initial outlay is minimal.

    You will be able to get a better idea of how much your set-up costs are likely to be once a Site Officer has been out and assessed the land; they’ll be able to tell what work needs to be done to get the site ready for certification before any work actually starts.

    Maintenance Costs: If your water is not mains supplied (well or spring water for example) then you will need to have this tested on an annual basis. Likewise if you provide electric hook-up points, these will also need an annual test, together with the proof of a current Public Liability Insurance certificate – copies of these documents need to be forwarded to HQ on expiry of the old ones – this can be done by email or post.

    You will also need to ensure that your CDP is emptied when at capacity. We recommend a 600 gallon tank and anticipate that this size unit would need to be emptied once, maybe twice, a year. This will obviously depend on how busy your site is, but we would suggest being mindful that campers have somewhere to empty their grey water (dirty washing-up water for example) so that they don’t use your CDP and fill this up unnecessarily.

    Other than these costs, you may have some regular duties such as mowing the grass and the odd DIY task that you may well be able to do yourself at little, or no, cost.

    What do I get out of it?

    If you keep a well maintained, attractive site and offer our members, your customers, a positive and friendly experience you should benefit socially and financially.

    Being located in an area where there are lots of tourist attractions or being in a holiday hot-spot will help to attract your campers, but similarly we also have a large member base who want to be tucked out of the way in a secluded, hideaway paradise!

    Drawing from the recent questionnaire of CS owners, they told us that the main reasons they enjoyed running their Certificated Site was the increased revenue it brings and the social aspect of it all; meeting people and making new friends, sharing their surroundings and welcoming repeat customers.

    How much should I charge?

    The fee’s you charge for your site are at your discretion, we can offer a guidance based on what surrounding sites of a similar nature are charging, but your fee’s should be determined by the popularity of the area, the standard of site you are providing, what facilities you have and any local attractions or amenities there might be.

    We ask you to provide us with your site fees for 1 unit per night, accommodating up to 2 adults and 2 children in high season. Many people wonder whether they should charge a tent less than a caravan, for example but in practice we find that its usually best to have a standard pitch fee (regardless of unit type) as you may have a camper with a 6-berth tent wanting an electric hook-up and in the next pitch have a 2-berth caravan with no electricity requirements. Alternatively, you can provide us with a price range to cover all eventualities. Remember that these kind of details can be changed at any time by contacting us – these amendments will show up almost immediately on our website but will have to wait until the next print of our SiteSeeker book to appear in the directory.

    Currently, the average cost for a pitch without electric hook-up, (on a basic site) is approximately £8 per night, and with electric is £12 per night. However, for a site with more facilities and attractions, the pitch fee can be considerably more.

    Where's the catch?

    It’s not often you get something for free these days, and we understand that you might be dubious about this, but we promise that none of our services will cost you a penny, nor will we take any of your site fees from you!


  • What we will give you is a dedicated department to support and advise you at any stage of your venture, whether it’s just something you are thinking about, or if you have been up and running for 20 years, with a direct phone number to our Head Quarters here in Coventry and a direct email address straight to the Exempted Camping Department.
  • When you do apply, we will take care of all the administration with the local authority and your neighbours if applicable, and keep you informed of the progress we are making along the way.
  • We’ll tell you which bits you need to do and when, and we’ll send out one of our expert Site Officers to check everything over once before you start, and once again when it’s finished.
  • We’ll give you 1 free site sign to display, a free basic advert in our well known publication ‘SiteSeeker’ and on our website, and a notice in the monthly magazine when you first open.
  • We’ll supply you with Joining Booklets so that non-members wishing to stay can join on-site and we’ll pay you commission. When you are running low, just let us know and we’ll send you some more.
  • We’ll send our Site Officers round once a year when you are up and running so that you can ask them for any guidance or suggestions, and we’ll send you dedicated newsletters with information, advice and offers specifically for you as a site owner.

    So, the ‘catch’….? Well, we ask that you love and look after your site and our members. We ask that you abide by the site rules set out to protect you, your campers and the surrounding community, and we ask that you keep us informed of any changes so that we have the most up to date records possible.

    How long does it take? What's the process?

    On average, a CS can be established within a few months, but to give you a better understanding there is a process we follow, and when we are asked this question (which we do, a lot!) there is no definite answer. How long it takes to get you up and running depends on a number of factors, but here’s what we do and when we do it:

    1. We acknowledge the receipt of your application and check that you have given us all the information we’ve asked for. We check the address of the site using the postcode and directions provided. If the site falls within a 5 mile radius of any of our other sites we call this a ‘close proximity’. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t accept your application; it just means that we need to ensure that the area can take another site by checking attendance figures and tourism interest etc.
    2. If your application isn’t within close proximity of any other site, then we can initially proceed. Please note that at this stage we are still unable to guarantee that we can issue a certificate – this will only happen once the consultation process is complete. We’ll give your application a unique reference which will become your site number – this is what we will use to recognise you from now on.
    3. We will then send out 3 letters;  The first is to you to let you know that we are initially proceeding and the next is to the local authority informing them of our intention to set up a Certificated Site in this location (including any accompanying maps and plans) to consider their views before proceeding with the application. We give the local authority 28 days to respond regarding any Planning restrictions, or ‘Article 4 Directions’ that may stop us from proceeding any further. The chances are that you would know if your land fell within an Article 4 as the planning restrictions are fairly severe, but it is at this stage that it would be confirmed to us by the local authority.

    The last letter we send out is to our Site Development Officer giving details of your application and asking them to contact you directly to make a convenient appointment. This initial assessment will involve our Officer completing a report on the potential suitability of the land to become a Certificated Site considering aspects such as the size and lay of the land, the approach and access, and location. They will look at these things as an experienced caravanner and it is this information that helps us make a decision whether we feel the site would be a viable prospect. One other job the Officer will undertake is to note whether there are any nearby or over-looking properties that may be affected by the application. In this case, the Officer will hand deliver letters to these properties, giving a brief explanation of our proposal to establish a campsite in this location and ask them to write to us at Head Quarters within 28 days if they have any comments or concerns. We will respond to any letters we receive and try to resolve any issues if and when they occur. Although we notify your neighbours, we do often find that it is best practice to go and speak to them about your intentions first. A lot of concern stems from people not understanding the proposal and imagining a large commercial site suddenly appearing next door, and not a small quiet site regulated by the Club for use by our members only – however, this is at your discretion. Once the initial assessment has been carried out and the deadlines have subsequently passed for the local authority and any neighbours (if applicable – if there are no neighbours then this deadline is obviously by-passed), if there are no unresolved issues, we can move on to the next stage.
    4. We use the information provided by the Site Officer for the ‘work to be done’ letter. This letter will tell you what work will need to be carried out in order to achieve certification including the installation of a chemical disposal point and other basic requirements. We do not recommend undertaking any work until you receive this letter as we don’t want you to go to any unnecessary expense if, for whatever reason, we are unable to continue with the application. We ask that you complete the work listed within 6 months of the date of the letter. Should you find that your site is ready for its final inspection before the 6 months is up, just let us know either by email or post our Site Officer will contact you to conduct the last development visit.
    5. As with the initial assessment, the Site Officer will contact you directly to arrange a convenient appointment to carry out the final inspection. They will complete a report to confirm that all work required has been carried out, list all of the facilities / amenities available both on site and within a mile (We use this information to build your site entry for our SiteSeeker book and also online), and sign off ready for certification which when received, means you can start accepting campers! Upon certification, your site entry will go live on our website almost immediately, you’ll also be added to the list of ‘New Sites’ both online and in our monthly magazine. Your entry will appear in the next available edition of our SiteSeeker book. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a Certificated Site?

    The Camping and Caravanning Club, established in 1901, is permitted by Natural England, The Scottish Government, The Welsh Assembly and The Northern Ireland Government to issue Certificates to landowners who wish to set up small campsites. The Club holds a Certificate of Exemption under Section 269 (6) of the 1936 Public Health Act, as well as Section 2 of the First Schedule to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, which permits the Club to establish small campsites without the need to obtain planning permission.

    A Certificated Site, or CS as we refer to them, are small, privately run campsites operated exclusively for members of the Club. CSs can take a maximum of five caravans or motorhomes at any one time for up to 28 consecutive days, allowing space of six metres between each unit. If space permits, the site can also accept a maximum of ten tents, unless express permission has been granted by the Club to accommodate more.

    To set up a site, the landowner must have a minimum of half an acre of land, provide safe access to and from the site, a dustbin that’s regularly emptied, a drinking water supply and a chemical disposal point (a facility for the campers to empty their chemical toilets). The site will be inspected annually by the Club to ensure that the site meets our expectations.

    There are many different reasons why landowners choose to look into having their own Certificated Sites, whether it’s for extra income, or just the pleasure of meeting new people, making friends, or sharing the beautiful surroundings with others.

    Should the application be successful, the site would be occupied by responsible members of the Club, who are bound by our code of conduct to respect the surrounding environment, including wildlife and nearby residents.

    Is there a consultation period?

    Irrespective of the fact that our exemptions permits the Club to establish small campsites, we will always consult with potentially directly affected residents, and the appropriate Local Authority, in order to ascertain whether there are any valid objections to the Club issuing a Certificate of Exemption to the landowner.

    Our local Site Officer will hand deliver a letter informing potentially directly affected residents of the proposed campsite. If you have any comments regarding the establishment of this site, please write to the Exempted Camping Department at the following address, or via email, stating the site reference number as indicated on the letter received, and within 28 days of the date at the top of the letter, clearly detailing your concerns.

    Please be assured that your comments will be given serious consideration during the application process.

    Exempted Camping Department
    The Camping and Caravanning Club
    Greenfields House
    Westwood Way
    CV4 8JH

    Tel: 024 7647 5198
    Email: exemptions@campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

    How many camping units is the campsite permited to accomodate?

    All Certificated Sites are limited to a maximum of 5 caravans or motorhomes at any one time. If space permits, the site can also accept a maximum of ten tents, unless express permission has been granted by the Club to accommodate more.

    Can the maximum number of touring units onsite be increased?

    All Certificated Sites are limited to a maximum of 5 caravans or motorhomes at any one time. If space permits, the site can also accept a maximum of ten tents, unless express permission has been granted by the Club to accommodate more.

    How long can a unit stay onsite

    Camping units are only permitted to stay onsite for a maximum of 28 days during any one stay.

    How long can a site operate during the year

    Generally, a Certificated Site is open during the main camping season, which is March to October. However, CSs can choose to operate all year round, which whilst permitted by the Club, must be appropriately designed and properly maintained throughout the opening period.

    Who ensures that Site Owners are operating within the Club's terms and Conditions?

    All Certificated Sites receive an annual visit from our Site Officers. During the visit, the Site Officer will ensure that the site is operating at the standards expected by the Club.

    Who investigates any complaints made regarding a Certificated Site?

    The Club will always fully investigate any complaints made in writing concerning a Certificated Site.

    Are non-members permitted to camp onsite

    The Club’s network of CSs are for the exclusive use of Club members. Non-members must join the Club prior to camping onsite.

    Is storage of units permitted on the Certificated Site?

    Certificated Sites for purely for recreational touring purposes, and does not legalise the use of the land for unit storage. Landowners must contact their Local Authority to determine whether a license is required.

    Am I able to obtain a site plan prior to certification?

    Yes, please contact the Exempted Camping Department on 024 7647 5198 with the appropriate site reference number which is detailed on our letter, and we will send you a copy. Please be aware that there might be a slight delay depending on when we receive the Site Officer’s report.

    Am I able to receive other documentation other than a proposed site plan?

    The Club has a strict policy of not releasing any documentation to third parties, unless to a law enforcement agency. This also applies to correspondence received from local residents.

    I am concerned about the level of noise the campsite might generate?

    The Club does not permit any vehicle movement, or noise onsite, between the hours of 11pm and 7am. Our members are also bound by our code of conduct to respect the surrounding environment, including wildlife and nearby residents.

    I'm concerned how the site will be managed as the landowner doesn't live onsite?

    Our members are used to staying on campsites where the owner doesn’t live onsite. Please be assured that our members are respectful of the surrounding environment, wildlife and nearby residents. We will always insist that site owners visit the campsite on a daily basis to ensure that the site is maintained to our expectations, and that they provide an emergency contact number for campers onsite.

    How will campers dispose of their chemical toilet waste?

    The Club stipulates that all Certificated Sites have either have a sealed container underground which is emptied by tanker, or direct access to mains drains.

    Do Certificated Sites require toilets/showers?

    Toilets and showers do not form part of the basic requirements to establish a Certificated Site. Should the site owner wish to provide these facilities, they must contact their local authority as planning permission may be required.

    I own the access track to the proposed Certificated Site?

    Should the access track be part owned by another resident, then written permission will be required from all associated parties, giving permission to use it for accessing the proposed Certificated Site.

    I'm concerned about the increase of traffic?

    Our Site Officers will fully assess the suitability of the proposed Certificated Site during their onsite visit, including whether an increase of traffic could be detrimental to the local environment. We also find that Certificated Sites are not full to capacity even during peak seasons, and that the increase in traffic is usually minimal.

    I'm concerned that there is no screening between my property and the proposed Certificated Site?

    As part of the Site Officer’s onsite report, they will assess whether the proposed Certificated Site requires additional screening. The Club can, and does, insist on erecting additional screening where appropriate.

    Why does a Certificated Site not require Planning Permission from the Local Authority?

    The Club’s exemptions to the site licensing requirements of the 1936 Public Health Act, and the First Schedule to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, specifically permits the Club to establish small campsites without the need to apply for planning permission, and is considered permitted development.

    The proposed site is situated within a Flood Zone could it still be certificated

    Where a proposed site is located within a flood zone, we will insist that the owners have a flood plan in case of flooding.

    Does a proposed Certificated Site have to be connected to the main water supply

    Whilst the Club will endeavour to establish Certificated Sites that are connected to the mains water supply, we do permit other sources of water to be available, such as, springs, boreholes, water bowsers. However, we will require annual water test certificates.

    Why didn't I receive a hand delivered letter informing me of the proposed Certificated Site?

    During our Site Officer’s visit, they will consider the impact a Certificated Site, which is limited in numbers, will have on local residents. The Site Officer will only leave hand delivered letters with those properties that they believe could be directly affected.

    Does having a Certificated Site help the landowners to achieve a license from the Local Authority

    Having an Exemption certificate does not entitle a landowner to have a license from their Local Authority. Landowners would have to apply for a license through the normal procedures.