Public procession licence

Please note that at the moment, council offices are closed and officers are working from home due to coronavirus. There may be a delay in processing paper application. Find out more about changes to licensing services.

To ensure that communities are aware of public processions, marches and parades in their area, we will publish details of all approved applications on the licensing register. Please select the procession option under activities to find approved applications.

Any moving event held in a public place anywhere in Scotland can be considered a parade or a procession. This can include races, fun runs and sponsored walks; processions; gala day parades and street parties; demonstrations and protests; displays and promotions.

Anyone who organises a public parade, procession, or event in which a body of people move will need to submit a notice of proposal to the council.

The legal position of processions is different from the licences we grant. We move forward with processions after asking whether the procession should be prohibited or allowed based on a risk assessment.

While the right to process is protected by the Human Rights Act 1998, it is not an absolute right, and restrictions can be imposed. We can only prohibit a procession for specified reasons laid down by legislation, such as public order issues. We cannot prohibit a procession because the views of the participants are controversial.

Before you apply

There are some things that you need to know and do before you apply for a public procession licence.

Giving notice

You must give at least 28 days' notice of your intention to hold a public procession. Please give us as much notice as possible. The more notice you give, the more likely all the procedures will be completed in time.

If you are planning a large event, it is advisable to lodge your application at least three months in advance, or as soon as is possible, as the application may require to be considered by Committee after it has been processed.

You may also need to apply for a temporary road closure or restriction. Our Roads team will require at least 14 days notice to process this application.

Risk assessment

You will have to fill in a risk assessment form to help us understand what dangers and risks might be associated with holding your event. This form will take you through the most common areas of risk which we and the police might want to raise with you. We and the police may carry out our own assessment of risk and may want to discuss our assessment with you before any meeting is held or at the first meeting itself.

A risk assessment of the procession will help to:

  • identify any dangers associated with holding it
  • evaluate the level of any known risks
  • decide who is at risk and in what way and how the risk to them could be got rid of
  • decide where other types or risk have been identified and whether it would be possible to introduce appropriate measures to allow the procession to go ahead

In some cases a risk assessment may not be required. For example, if we consider that your procession is routine or it has already been decided that the procession will carry little to no risk. We will tell you if you do not need to fill in this risk-assessment form. 

How to apply

Complete the notice of proposal and risk assessment form (pdf 219KB) and return it to us at least 28 days before you plan to hold a procession.

Please send your competed form to:

Head of Service
Legal and People
Business Services
Aberdeenshire Council
Viewmount
Arduthie Road
Stonehaven AB39 2DQ

If your overall assessment shows that there is a high risk associated with holding the procession, you should get in touch as soon as possible to discuss if we can find solutions to reduce or remove the risk. 

Application fee

There is no fee for public procession licence application.

Application process

Once we have received your notification form it will be sent to Police Scotland and the Roads Department for their comments. Police Scotland will contact you directly to discuss and agree the procession’s route. They will then submit a report to the Licensing Office and, if there is a positive response, we will then issue a letter confirming that the procession can take place.

Your application will be advertised on the licensing register to allow members of the public to make any objections or representations.

We will assess the risks associated with holding your procession within the first two weeks of us receiving your notification and risk-assessment forms. You should remember to keep a copy of this form for your records and bring it with you for any meeting which we may hold. This is because we and the police may want to raise issues with you about how your assessment compares to ours.

It may take four weeks to process your notice of approval. If you haven’t heard from the Licensing Office within a reasonable period please contact us at licapps@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

You must keep to the route and timings agreed with Police Scotland and follow the instructions of the Police during the procession.