Big Changes to Licensing Law in April 2012
Most of the measures set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act will come into force in the first week in April.
This will affect a number of different areas of Licensing Law:
- The Environmental Health Officers will have the right to make representations against Temporary Event Notices (T.E.N.) alongside the police and these will be able to be based on any of the four licensing objectives.
- The Licensing authority and Primary Care Trust (or Health authority in Wales) will be added to the list of Responsible Authorities. This means they will have the right to raise representations against applications and variations.
- Representations will now only be required to prove that they are ‘appropriate’ as opposed to ‘necessary’ in order to promote the licensing objectives.
- ‘Vicinity’ will no longer be a requirement for those wishing to make representations against applications.
- The penalty for the offence of ‘persistently selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18’ will be doubled to a £20,000 fine and the term for the alternative voluntary closure notice will increase from a maximum of 48 hours to a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 14 days.
However the proposed Early Morning Restriction Orders (EMRO’s) and the proposed Late Night Levy will not come into effect until secondary legislation is introduced later in the year.
More details on all of these proposed measures can be found in our earlier article Rebalancing the Licensing Act.
There will be some interesting developments to keep an eye on, especially in respect of the Licensing Officers and Health Authorities becoming a ‘responsible authority’ and thus having the ability to make representations against applications; this could open the flood gates.
This situation could be exasperated, especially with the abolishing of ‘vicinity’ as a test factor in the relevance of a representation, this may encourage pressure groups to object to all applications on the basis of their particular motivation.
In respect of the Environmental Health Office having the ability to make objections against T.E.N.’s, this opens the gates to objections on the basis of perceived noise disturbances from events run under temporary event notices. Our advice, if you are planning to apply for any TEN’s this year, do so before the end of March to avoid the possibility of this additional scrutiny and the potential for representations to be made by EHO.
All in all not a great day for the licensed retail and licensed hospitality industry or for a government who have stated one of their aims to be the removal of expensive and restrictive red tape…
Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 – legislation.gov.uk
Amendments to the Licensing Act – legislation.gov.uk
Date – 18th March 2012
Submitted by – Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy.
For more information on any of our services, please call us on 01784 434 392 / 0845 602 55 95 (low call rate from UK landlines) or Contact Us.