Charity collections


The Live Music Act 2012 exempted most forms of busking from the need to be licensed and we no longer issue busking licences. However, if you are busking for a charity you may need a street collection permit or a house to house collections licence.

We ask buskers to follow the voluntary code of conduct set out below to avoid causing problems for residents and businesses.

Runnymede Borough Council welcomes activities that enhance the street scene and provide good quality entertainment to the public. Under the provisions of the Live Music Act busking and carol singing is now exempt from licensing requirements, as it is usually incidental to other activities such as shopping or in the case of carol singing undertaking a charitable collection. The Live Music Act took effect from 1 October 2012. The Act removed the licensing requirements for live music in the following circumstances:

1. Where amplified live music is provided between 08:00 and 23:00 hours for audiences of no more than 200 people, in premises authorised under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises;

2. Where amplified live music is provided between 08:00 and 23:00 hours for audiences of no more than 200 people, in workplaces* which are not licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 (or which are licensed only for the provision of late night refreshment);

3. Where unamplified music is provided between 08:00 and 23:00 hours in any venue; and

4. Where Morris Dancing is taking place the exemption has been extended so that all accompanying music, whether live, recorded, amplified or unamplified is exempt from licensing requirements.

* a workplace includes the street, pub beer garden (if not included in a premises licence) and other outside non-domestic areas where people work.

To avoid complaints the Council asks buskers to abide by a Code of Conduct which is set out below. If busking or street entertainment is being conducted for a charitable purpose a street collection permit and/or house to house collections licence may also be required. Organisers are advised to contact the Council's Committee Section at least 28 days in advance of the event so that the necessary licences can be applied for and issued.

When choosing a suitable location there must be due regard for the need to avoid causing any obstruction or annoyance to residents, retailers, local businesses and the general public, in consultation with Surrey Police and Surrey Highway Authority. Buskers are advised to contact local businesses near to the proposed 'pitch' to check they are content for busking near their premises.

Large events such as Addlestone Town Festival, Magna Carta Day and Black Cherry Fair, theatrical performances and similar will usually fall under the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 as 'regulated entertainment' and organisers are advised to contact the Council's Licensing Section at least 28 days before the event so that a risk assessment can be undertaken and other necessary provisions made to facilitate their event such as giving a Temporary Event Notice if required.

Code of Conduct for Buskers and Street Entertainers

1. Performances must not cause an obstruction to the highway (footpath), entrances/exits to shops and other premises or shop window displays occurs by entertainers or those gathering to watch. Performers must act safely at all times and not endanger themselves or others.

2. Performances in town centres are permitted between the hours of 08:00 and 23:00 hours. All de-regulated live music performances must cease at 11pm.

3. The use of amplifiers and loudspeakers is not advised so as to avoid causing a noise nuisance. Mains or generated power amplifiers are likely to present particular problems and should not be used. If music and or voices can be plainly heard at a distance of 50 metres it is too loud.

4. Performers must not dress or act in way that is likely to offend others or amounts to anti-social behaviour - likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public or local traders. This includes performing whilst under the influence of alcohol, solvents or drugs.

5. The sale of CDs or other items is prohibited in accordance with relevant Street Trading legislation. Buskers must not cause an obstruction under the Highways Act 1980, nor cause a noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993). All litter/waste arising from the event must be removed from site. Any breach of these Acts and or associated legislation and regulations including the Live Music Act where appropriate, may result in the busker or street entertainer being 'moved on' and subject to appropriate enforcement action by the relevant authority.

Some forms of street entertainment, for example a theatrical performance, are defined as 'regulated entertainment' under the Licensing Act 2003 and you might need a licence. Please email for more information about regulated entertainment.

Get in touch about charity licensing

The quickest way to contact us is by using our online forms which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need to speak to us give us a call during office hours and talk to our Customer Services team who will be happy to help.