Sunday Trading and Loading Consents

Sunday Trading Act 1994

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 which came into effect on 26 August 1994 removed the general restriction on shops opening for trade on Sundays.

Large shops (those where the internal sales area exceeds 280 square metres) are permitted to open for six continuous hours on Sundays starting no earlier than 10am and ending no later than 6pm, except on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday.

There are a number of "large shops" which are not subject to the restriction on Sunday trading hours, these include:

  • farm shops where the trade or business consists wholly or mainly of the sale of produce from that farm
  • shops where the main trade or business is the sale of alcohol
  • shops where the main trade or business is motor or cycle supplies and accessories
  • registered pharmacies which are open solely for medicinal products or medical and surgical appliances
  • shops at designated airports, railway stations, motorway and other service areas
  • petrol filling stations
  • exhibition stands
  • shops occupied by persons observing the Jewish Sabbath who have given notice to the authority that they intend to keep the shop closed on the Jewish Sabbath.

There are no restrictions on small shops (those where the internal sales area is 280 square metres or less) opening on Sundays and there is no requirement for businesses to notify the Council of the hours they propose to trade.

See the Sunday Trading Act 1994 for further information.

Business operators of large and small shops must still comply with any planning condition which restricts the opening hours on a Sunday or any other day of the week. Please visit the Planning Department's webpages for further information on planning issues.

Loading and unloading at large shops on Sunday

Large shops are also subject to loading control restrictions on Sunday and goods may not be loaded or unloaded from any vehicle at the shop before 9am except with the consent of the Council.

Application and Evaluation Process

Applications for consent to load and unload on Sunday must be made on the Council's application form and are subject to an application fee.

The Council must determine the application within 21 days following receipt and must grant consent unless it is satisfied that the loading and unloading of goods at the shop before 9am on Sunday has caused, or would be likely to cause, undue annoyance to local residents. The Council will therefore take into consideration any history of noise complaints relating to deliveries to and pick ups from the premises, as well as the proximity of the shop to residential properties and any other factors it considers relevant when determining the application.

Any consent granted may be subject to conditions.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the licensing authority within 21 days please email the licensing team.

Failed Application Redress

The Council may only refuse an application where it is satisfied that the loading or unloading has or would cause undue annoyance to local residents and the Act does not provide a right of appeal against any decision to refuse on these grounds. Applicants aggrieved by a decision to refuse consent should write to the Licensing Team Manager in the first instance.

Licence Holder Redress

The Council can impose conditions on any consent granted, which may include a restriction on the time and number of vehicle movements permitted before 9am. The Act does not provide a right of appeal against any decision to impose conditions so applicants aggrieved by any conditions or restrictions should write to the Licensing Team Manager in the first instance.

Other Redress

If there is a concern about noise, pollution, or similar please contact the Council's Environmental Health Line on 020 7361 3002 or email If your complaint relates to an existing licensed premises or a premises is suspected of operating without the required permission please contact the Council's Licensing Team on 020 7341 5152 or email