Ice cream licensing consultation - Russell Square

Closed 12 Mar 2023

Opened 25 Jan 2023


Camden Council introduced seven licensed ice cream trading sites at various locations across Camden in 2020, which were made permanent in 2022 to combat the air pollution and carbon emissions caused by illegal ice cream vehicle engine idling. This ice cream licensing project aims to change the use of parking/loading bays at specified locations to allow licensed ice cream traders to trade from a dedicated bay with an electrical power supply, eliminating the need for engine idling.

This scheme was designed following feedback from residents and visitors to the borough relating to air quality concerns at multiple locations where unlicensed street trading was taking place.

The Council are proposing to create an additional permanent trading pitch with an electrical power supply in Russell Square for green and sustainable ice cream trading, eliminating the air pollution and carbon emissions currently emitted through the illegal trading in the area. The make and model of the EV charge point has been selected based on its minimalist appearance and how it will conform with the existing street infrastructure in the Russell Square area.

The specific location proposed is at the southern corner of Russel Square, near the junction with Montague Street. A map illustrating the specific location can be found below in the “related documents” section at the bottom of this page.

Trading will take place on this site permanently following an interview-based selection process. The licensed trader will agree to trade without their engine idling whilst waiting for the installation of power. The site will have a trading licence agreement with terms and conditions, in line with the London Local Authorities Act 1990 (as amended). Ice cream selling at each site will only be allowed by the holder of the licence agreement and they will only be permitted to trade during the agreed upon hours.  

Residents and stakeholders can make formal representations on the proposed parking bay conversion in Russell Square by providing feedback to this public consultation.  This consultation will run for six weeks, after which the Council will consider any representations made.

Please complete the survey to feedback on any comments on the scheme.

You can also register your interest in trading at any of the eight licensed ice cream trading sites for the upcoming application process.

Applicants will be required to meet the following criteria that will improve the standard of ice cream trading and the local environment:

  • Food hygiene certification
  • Clearly advertised pricing
  • Healthy options such as frozen yoghurt or fruit
  • Ability to run on electric/battery, rather than the engine, to reduce air pollution
  • All trader assistants to be registered with the Council

Why your views matter

Currently, ice cream vans are allowed to trade without a street trading license, providing they stop for only 15 minutes to serve customers then move on and do not return to the same street within the same day, unless the street prohibits itinerant ice cream selling taking place at all.

Within the London Borough of Camden, there are multiple streets that prohibit itinerant ice cream sellers. With current staff resources, there is a limited ability to enforce these streets effectively.  Therefore, unlicensed street traders operate in prohibited streets on a regular basis throughout the summer months resulting in a number of complaints regarding engine idling and air pollution.  Ice cream vehicles are exempt from enforcement action being received.

There is also a problem with air and noise pollution at all locations and there are continual breaches of parking regulations and vehicles plotting up at unsafe locations, blocking the view of pedestrians or other vehicles. 

The majority of ice cream van trading locations don’t have a mains electricity supply and ice cream van traders must therefore run vehicle motor engines to supply power for the refrigeration. This produces significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM) air pollution which affects the health of traders, customers, and surrounding communities. 

Camden Council are in the process of installing power supply points at eight ice cream sites in the coming months, including the Russell Square location we are currently consulting on.  

The key objectives of the scheme are:

  • To reduce the number of unlicensed street traders within the borough;
  • To have  more control over ice cream traders, by attaching conditions to the licenses issued; relating to healthy food options, the display of prices, hygiene certificates, public liability insurance and registration of assistants;
  • To generate a source of income by issuing temporary licenses on an experimental 6-month basis for the sale of ice cream;
  • To reduce the crime and disorder related to unlicensed itinerant ice cream van traders by ensuring licenses are issued to traders who are not classed as high risk to the public by requiring a satisfactory DBS check prior to the issue of a license, and;
  • To reduce vehicle emissions by making it a condition of any license issued that any vehicle must operate using a power supply so allowing for the engine to be switched off.

As part of this new approach, we would like to get your views on the scheme and provide you with the opportunity to leave any comments, which will help us in the development of future sustainable sites and reduce the number of unlicensed street traders within the borough.


  • Bloomsbury


  • Anyone from any background


  • Business and local economy
  • Community and living
  • Council and democracy
  • Environment
  • Transport and streets