The Licensing Act 2003: A step in the right direction?
Source: Journal of Substance Use, Volume 14, Number 2, April 2009 , pp. 113-123(11)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:The Licensing Act 2003 (covering England and Wales) introduced greater flexibility to the UK licensing laws, including the possibility of 24-h licenses. This paper reports a nation wide survey of 225 (63%) local authority chairs of licensing committees/senior members of licensing teams in England evaluating the short-term impact of the Act. A cumulative impact (saturation) area was only declared in 38 (17%) local authorities. Extended hours applications were more common than new applications in both on- and off-licensed premises. The perception of those surveyed was of 'no change' in the following alcohol-related variables; public noise levels (n = 133, 59%) violence and fights (n = 130, 60%), under-aged drinking (n = 143, 67%), crime (n = 141, 68%), and drink-driving (n = 157, 86%). Contrary to the picture often presented in certain parts of the mass-media, the impact of the Licensing Act appears to be neutral. However, these are likely to be the result of a number of intervening factors, rather than the change to a more liberalized licensing regime. The role of the police would seem to be fundamental. Future research will need to disentangle the impact of these intervening factors and it will be a number of years before the impact of these changes can be assessed.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2009-04-01