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Cambridge City Council

Sunbed safety

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010

The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 came into force on 8 April 2011. The Act aims to combat the rising numbers of young people being diagnosed with skin cancer from over-exposure to UV rays by preventing under 18 year olds from being allowed to use tanning salons and sunbeds at premises. This includes beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms and hotels. The new Act also prohibits under 18s access to rooms where sunbeds are used.

The Act imposes a duty on anyone involved in carrying on a sunbed business to ensure that no person under the age of 18 years:

  • uses a sunbed
  • is offered the use of a sunbed; or
  • is present in a restricted zone

There is no requirement for payment to be made, either directly or indirectly, for the use of the sunbeds in order for the business to come under the definition of a sunbed business.

A sunbed business is a business that has sunbeds available for use on the business premises. Where a business has sunbeds available, but the sunbeds would not be used on the business premises, for example where they are only available for sale or hire, the business is not a sunbed business for the purposes of the Act.

What is a restricted zone?

Where a sunbed is located in a wholly or partly enclosed space and that space is reserved for the users of that sunbed, every part of that space is a restricted zone.

Where a sunbed is located in a room but is not also located in a wholly or partly enclosed space reserved for the users of that sunbed, every part of the room is a restricted zone. The wholly or partly enclosed space could be a private room, changing cubicle, booth, cabin or pod, but this is not an exhaustive list. The space does not have to be created by a permanent or fixed structure. For example, where a sunbed is located in a room, but a screen is drawn around the sunbed, the screen creates a partly enclosed space for the sunbed, so only this space would be the restricted zone. This provides a simple and inexpensive option for sunbed businesses to create restricted zones within larger rooms.

All the space around a sunbed is part of the restricted zone. This can mean that even if a sunbed is in only one corner of a large, open-plan area, that whole area counts as a restricted zone.

For illustrated examples of restricted spaces please click on the link in the guidance section below.

Offences and penalties

Environmental Health Officers will investigate complaints from members of the public. Failure to comply with the Act may result in legal action with courts imposing fines up to £20,000.


The Department of Health provides guidance to sunbed operators:

For more information on skin cancer prevention and early diagnosis, visit the Cancer Research UK SunSmart campaign.

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