Home » News

HSE reviews adventure activity licensing scheme

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is consulting on whether to update the Adventure and Activities Licensing Regulations (AALR) or replace them with an industry-led accreditation scheme.

HSE reviews adventure activity licensing scheme
Image credit: ©iStock/Imgorthand

Under the existing regulations commercial providers of outdoor adventure pursuits for under 18s, such as caving and water sports, are legally required to undergo an inspection of their safety management systems and hold a licence issued by the Adventure and Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). 

The consultation includes three options on the future of adventure activity legislation in Great Britain.

Options one and two involve maintaining the AALR in their current format but increasing the licence fee, or retaining them but extending the scope of activities requiring a license and increasing the fee respectively.

The third option involves replacing the regulations with an industry-led, non-statutory, non-profit assurance scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Current licensable activities listed on the HSE’s website include abseiling caving, climbing, sailing and trekking.

Should one of the first two options be adopted, the license fee gradually would be increased from £715 to approximately £920. “Further increases would then be required over time [ten years] until the service can sustain itself as originally intended,” according to the discussion document. 

Though accreditation would not be a legal requirement under option three, the consultation says the proposed scheme “would provide a way for adventure activity providers to demonstrate compliance with their duties under s 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, in the way that the AALR do now”. 

The HSE is designated as the AALA, which is sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. The inspections are the responsibility of the Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS) and were contracted by the HSE to Tourism Quality Management Services.

Adventure activities licensing applies across England, Scotland and Wales, however is a devolved matter in Scotland and Wales. It is not applicable to Northern Ireland. 

The consultation began on 12 January and will end on 9 March. 


Keeley Downey was the former assistant editor of IOSH Magazine. Previously she was editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

Add new comment