Licensing

The Licensing Act regulates four activities: the sale of alcohol; the supply of alcohol, (for example, in a members’ club); regulated entertainment, such as live performances and; the provision of hot food or drink to the public after 11pm.
This Act aims to prevent crime and disorder and public nuisance and protect children and the wider public from harm.

The Government remains committed to tackling alcohol-related crime & anti-social behaviour. We are currently bringing forward proposals in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill to rebalance the Licensing Act so that local communities and the police can address problems effectively, particularly late at night. Aside from the reforms set out in the Bill, we welcome your comments on any other aspects of the Licensing Act which could be made less burdensome.

You can find all the regulations that relate to licensing below to the left.

Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Creates a new offence of persistently selling alcohol to children and gave courts additional powers to deal with this where it occurs.

Domestic regulation

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Licensing Act 2003

The Licensing Act came into force in November 2005 and applies in England and Wales. It regulates four ‘licensable activities':

  • the sale by retail of alcohol;
  • the supply of alcohol (i.e., in a members’ club);
  • the provision of regulated entertainment, and;
  • the provision of late night refreshment (i.e., after 11pm).

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010

Adds new mandatory conditions to premises licences that authorise the sale and supply of alcohol. These conditions are designed to: prohibit irresponsible promotions; require that a “responsible person” ensures that alcohol is not dispensed directly into the mouth; require that free tap water is provided to customers where it is reasonably available; and require that an age verification policy is in place in respect of the premises.”

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Summary Review of Premises Licences) Regulations 2007

Under s.53A of the Act, a Chief Officer of police may apply for a summary review of a premises licence if the premises is associated with serious crime or disorder. This regulation sets out the detailed requirements of this process.

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Permitted Temporary Activities) (Notices) Regulations 2005

Temporary Event Notices (TENs) enable licensable activities to be carried out on an occasional basis for short periods. This regulation sets out the form of a TEN and various other details about the current process

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Fees) Regulations 2005

The 2003 Act gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations prescribing the amount of the fees payable to licensing authorities by a person making an application or giving a notice under the 2003 Act.

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005

Sets out the details of the procedure to be followed at hearings including details of the timescales within which it must occur. Hearings result from a number of processes in the Act, representations from bodies such as the police, or from a member of the public such as a concerned local resident.

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Premises licences and club premises certificates) Regulations 2005

Sets out a large number of details about the process under the Act. For example, it sets out the form of a premises licence, of the ‘blue notices’ that must be displayed when applications have been made, and of the notice of review that must be issued by the licensing authority if there is to be a review of a premises licence.

Domestic regulation

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The Licensing Act 2003 (Personal licences) Regulations 2005

If a premises licence authorises the sale of alcohol, there are mandatory conditions that there must a “Designated Premises Supervisor” in respect of that premises, and that this person must hold a personal licence; and that every sale of alcohol under the licence must be made or authorised by someone who holds a personal licence. This regulation stipulates a number of details about applications for personal licences, including the form on which the application must be made.

Domestic regulation

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Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:

183 responses to Licensing

  • MJ Reid said on June 3, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Although Licensing is a devolved matter in Scotland, I would like to see a public risk assessment carried out every time that a licence application is made. More bureaucracy rather than less. Yes! Why? How often are neighbours and their views taken into account when licences are given out – especially in mixed areas – residential and commercial as there is in many towns and cities across the UK. Where I live there are 5 restaurants, a pub and a whisky shop – oh, and a laundrette on one side of hte block and on the other a hotel with restaurant and bar. The noise from patrons and from delivery vans and bin lorries is immense. We, as neighbours, are only inconvenienced by all of these premises, not as the council tells us – living in an area that is enhanced by the presence of these businesses.

  • Martin Weller said on June 3, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Police sensibly, not violently. Venues take responsibility to refuse service to those who are clearly out of control. Keep music live!

  • Robert Kitchen said on June 2, 2011 at 10:37 am

    When a new licenced premises is planned, plans have to go for Building Regulations Approval. EHOs are consulted during this process before building even starts. Much later, when a Premises Licence is sought, plans go back to the EHO who then looks at them in a different way and sometimes gives advice that would have been cheaper to implement if flagged in the first process. It would save some frustration (and cost) for those opening new businesses to enable/ encourage EHOs to give all advice at the earliest stage.

  • Nick Wilkinson (Flamenco Guitarist) said on June 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    As a performing artist, who is directly affected by music licensing, I would like to say congratulations for sticking a big stick in the spokes of our community. The only people that can generally afford live music licences are crooks. Believe me when I say I have played in some shady establishments. The situation is such that I seldom bother to perform anymore.

    A healthy society does not have cultural restrictions imposed on its music. Only dictatorships wear that kind of badge. Music is one of the cornerstones of civilization – mess with it and you’ll create a dumb breed. The very thought that people get paid a salary for perpetrating such socially undesirable circumstances is not only diabolical but it quite simply makes the blood boil.

    The licensing is wrong, unethical and extremely thoughtless.

  • Nick Wilkinson (Flamenco Guitarist) said on June 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    As a performing artist, who is directly affected by music licensing, I would like to say congratulations for sticking your big stick in the spokes of our community.

    The only people that can generally afford live music licences are crooks. Believe me when I say I have played in some shady establishments. The situation is such that I seldom bother to perform anymore.

    A healthy society does not have cultural restrictions imposed on its music. Only dictatorships wear that kind of badge. Music is the cornerstones of many civilizations – mess with it and you’ll create a dumb breed.

    The very thought that people get paid a salary for perpetrating such socially undesirable circumstances is not only diabolical but it quite simply makes the blood boil.

    The licensing is wrong, unethical and extremely thoughtless.

  • graham clack said on June 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Do away with the requirement to report to the police if a licence is lost – even if stolen it is of no use to anyway and duplicates are normally asked for when mis-laid not stolen
    There are too many criminal offences such as one for not returning a licence to be amended if a dps has notified they no longer want to be the dps. In those circumstances, the owner would apply to vary the dps as otherwise they can’t sell alcohol, and if instead they stop trading completely (unlikely just because a dps has left) then it makes no odds anyway. Plus in theory you can serve a application by internet and for the council to distribute, but the system you have to use, for a variety of reasons, means it’s unlikely to be used by companies that lodge many applications. Surely it would be better all round if you could just send pdf’s and word docs through as attachments – it’d would be a lot more simple

  • Stuart Alder (landlord) said on June 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Oh where do we start? About ten years ago, I had to apply for a licence for the restaurant I ran. I filled in a form, a copy of which went to the local police, went to the magistrates court, and was granted the licence. £30 fee. More recently, I changed the licence to a “premesis licence” £300 fee, plus copies to the local council (instead of the magistrates) police and fire service. The fire service makes sense, sure, but why the increase of 900%? Why? because the new licensing department of the local council had hired four new staff on £25,000 each to do the work of two old staff at the Police station on £15,000 each. I know, because my brother was one of the police staff. Fast forward to two years ago. Same application, but this time i had to give copies of the application to nine different agencies: Local Council (licencing), Local Council (planning), Local council (building regs), Police Service, Fire Service, County Council (child protection officer), Customs & Excise, County Council (trading standards) and there is one other I can’t even remember! The fee was higher again about £400.

    Also, I run a restaurant that is in a pub. It was very run down, and full of under-age kids, and drug-users. We converted it, and rennovated it, and turned it around. Last summer we held a beer festival outside, and had some live music. One neighbour complained. Just one. two hundred people came and enjoyed it, and it was a really pleasant, family event. The neighbour complained directly to the local council officer (a new sub-department of Environmental Health) who gave us a Noise abatement notice. The only way we can appeal this is by taking them to court, but they can give them out with no court order. They can give us a noise abatement notice in a matter of days or weeks, but an appeal has taken about ten months, and cost us a huge amount of money & time.

    Licensing: Go back to the old, magistrate & police method. It is cheaper, faster, more efficient, and more condusive to a polite society. Sack off all new licensing staff from local authorities.

    • MJ Reid said on June 3, 2011 at 9:42 am

      200 people came and enjoyed it. One neighbour complained. Just one.

      I posted a response about how licences are given out – and hte need for more “bureacracy” not less. And this is why. What do I mean? You think 200 people coming to your event and paying you fro the priviledge is great. Neighbours do not want 200 people attending venues in their area – noise, litter, increased traffic, etc – and drunkenness. So from the point of view of a neighbour, we need more noise abatement officers, etc not less.

  • Thomas Grayson-Smith said on May 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    As an MU member I remain of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment (live music) in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives. The impact of the Act has been far reaching and MU members working across live entertainment have encountered a number of problems.
    However, I welcomed the last Government’s decision to consult on an exemption to the Act for small venues. Such an exemption would go a long way towards encouraging venues to put on live entertainment and I urge the Government to implement one as soon as possible.

  • robin archer said on May 31, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    I am experiencing a real problem under the current TENS system which is unjust to residents who’s properties abut rural fields where up to 28 events under the GPDO such as out door parties can take place. We are experiencing a landowner renting his field for continuous weekend wedding parties throughout the entire summer with loud amplified music from noon to 11.30pm making it impossible to enjoy our gardens. The police approve the licence and the local authority are not avilable at weekends to monitor the unbareable noise levels which are then turned up again after an inspection. Our quaility of life is a miserable and our homes unsaleable. There should be a restriction that no out door event can take place with 250m of a residential property unless the resident agrees to the licence.

    • Roger Gall said on June 1, 2011 at 8:49 am

      I can well understand your concern for noise and I can also understand your confusion here. But neither the additional entertainment licensing in TENs or a full Premises Licence can give permission for noise pollution. These can only give permission for entertainment/alcohol etc.and your problem is with noise pollution.

      Actual noise pollution from all sources needs to be dealt with by use of the correct legislation. Where actual noise pollution may be emanating from entertainment – for which additional licensing permission is in place – or for which no additional licensing permission is required – this is still the case.

      So why do people still think that additional licensing permission is of any use to deal with noise pollution – In this regard – it exists only as a means to further confuse the issue?

  • Roger Gall said on May 31, 2011 at 11:17 am

    http://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk/news/cotswolds/9053372.Party_poopers_fail_to_scupper_late_night_venue_bid/

    “Conditions of the license included pre-booking for all private functions and no promoting of events on social network sites. ”

    The above is just a recent example of the sort of conditions that have been applied since the introduction of this legislation. Can such a condition be justified under the Act’s 4 licensing objectives and how can such abuses be addressed?

  • Gavriella said on May 30, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I (and the Musicians Union) remain of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment (live music) in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives. The impact of the Act has been far reaching and MU members working across live entertainment have encountered a number of problems.

    However, we welcomed the last Government’s decision to consult on an exemption to the Act for small venues. Such an exemption would go a long way towards encouraging venues to put on live entertainment and we urge the Government to implement one as soon as possible.

  • Rick Finlay said on May 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I am writing in support of my Trade Union’s position (the MU) , which expresses my concerns as a self-employed musician, which is:

    “We remain of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment (live music) in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives. The impact of the Act has been far reaching and MU members working across live entertainment have encountered a number of problems.
    However, we welcomed the last Government’s decision to consult on an exemption to the Act for small venues. Such an exemption would go a long way towards encouraging venues to put on live entertainment and we urge the Government to implement one as soon as possible.”

  • ian harrison said on May 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Remove the regulated entertainment section. It has been a disaster. TEN event notices have made it even worse.
    We don’t even need an exemption for venues under 200. Scrap it all as there is enough legislation such as The Environmental Protection Act already in place to make sure we behave. At present even an ancient accordion player and a dodgy fiddler can’t play a small set in an unlicensed establishment. We are desparately short of any art, music or culture in the UK. Musicians have rights too!

  • Stephe Meloy said on May 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I (and the Musicians Union) remain of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment (live music) in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives. The impact of the Act has been far reaching and MU members working across live entertainment have encountered a number of problems.

    However, we welcomed the last Government’s decision to consult on an exemption to the Act for small venues. Such an exemption would go a long way towards encouraging venues to put on live entertainment and we urge the Government to implement one as soon as possible.

  • Phil said on May 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I remain of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment (live music) in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives. The impact of the Act has been far reaching and MU members working across live entertainment have encountered a number of problems.

    However, I welcomed the last Government’s decision to consult on an exemption to the Act for small venues. Such an exemption would go a long way towards encouraging venues to put on live entertainment and I urge the Government to implement one as soon as possible.

  • Nico Tomkins said on May 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I remain of the opinion that the inclusion of regulated entertainment (live music) in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives. The impact of the Act has been far reaching and MU members such as myself working across live entertainment have encountered a number of problems.

    I welcomed the last Government’s decision to consult on an exemption to the Act for small venues. Such an exemption would go a long way towards encouraging venues to put on live entertainment and I urge the Government to implement one as soon as possible.

    Nico Tomkins, musician and music teacher, London, May 2011

  • dave viney said on May 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    This act is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever implemented in that, by combining the provision of alcohol, live entertainment & food, it constitutes another attempt to impose a police/nanny state on an increasingly oppressed population,

    It is akin to many of the traffic laws whereby drivers are persecuted for speeding & parking in situations which are completely harmless rather than prosecuting harmful crime such as causing accidents or creating an obstruction.

    Similarly, venues, organisations or individuals which create disorder, public nuisance (though these need careful definition) or harm to children and the wider public should be prosecuted under appropriate ‘social responsibility’ legislation rather than persecuting those who provide alcohol, live entertainment or food without any nuisance or harm.

    It is patently ridiculous to implement legislation to inhibit activities that might result in ‘antisocial’ crime when it is as, or more, likely that any such crime does not occur.

    On that basis, it could be argued, for instance, that attendance at live football matches should be banned or restricted to avoid the possibility of similar crime,

    In extremis, the policy of legislating against activities that might result in antisocial behavior would ban any consumption of alcohol or live performance in public including bars, restaurants etc.

    Apart from the oppression of fundamental human rights concerning consumption of alcohol; live entertainment and food, current legislation is destroying an essential part of our culture with resulting (anti)social impacts by reducing the number of live entertainment venues due to the difficulties and associated costs of complying with that legislation.

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