A meadow strip along a field.

Pop-up car parks - could this be an opportunity for you?

In 2020 and 2021 we saw an unprecedented number of visitors to the Lake District National Park, many of whom were looking for car parking. If we have more car park spaces available we will hopefully reduce parking on lanes and in gateways. We are anticipating similar numbers of visitors this year, could this be an opportunity for you?

‘Pop-up’ car parks can be in use for up to 28 days a year

A pop-up car park is a car park that is temporary. Usually it is a flat, accessible field without any facilities.

You can operate a small car park for 28 days of the year, if you do not physically change the field, without planning permission. This means that you could not put in additional hard standing, permanent ticket machines, permanent signage or a toilet block, you would have to put temporary facilities in your field that are removed after 28 days.

You do not need a licence for a temporary car park. If you are a tenant you should check with your landlord and you should also check it is allowed within any stewardship agreement you have.

Facilities needed

You need a flat, accessible area with safe access. If your car park isn’t near any public toilets it may be useful to provide toilets (eg. portaloos), and you will need to provide a litter collection point and keep the field clean.


For pop-up car parks a secure honesty box will work, although sadly not everyone is honest! A person on the gate at peak times (depending on where you are, but this is usually 10am -12noon) collecting the money can help. You can charge between £3 and £5 for the day per car.

Other considerations

You need to risk assess your site. The site needs good access, ideally not down a single file lane as you want cars to be able to arrive and leave in safety. Think about your neighbours, will they overlook it, will your car park create traffic when open, or lead to people driving there and parking on the road when it’s not open? You may be able to operate a one way system- in one gate and out of another. Access should still be available safely for people leaving their cars on foot and returning on foot later.

Insurance can usually be provided by the insurer who insures your land for public liability. There is usually an additional charge for this.

You may not open a car park on common land, a SSSI, adjacent to a listed building or on a scheduled ancient monument.

Mud-fields may get very muddy if wet. You may need to hire mud mats from an events management company or similar. You may need to close the car park if it is very wet.

You need to make sure that emergency vehicles can pass the site, and enter the site if required, safely.


You need to make sure you have temporary signs from the road and it is clear when it is open to avoid people continuing to park outside your 28 days. It is also helpful to have signs in the car park to advise people of the rules such as no overnight stays, no littering, no fires/barbeques and for some places pointing them to the nearest footpaths to popular walks, village, pub etc. to avoid them taking short cuts over your land.

Work commitment

There may be very little work involved if you use an honesty box system. In busy areas you may like to man the site to ensure that everyone who parks pays.

Read our full planning guidance on pop up camping and car parks