The Home Office have released 2013 statistics on alcohol and late night refreshment licensing in England and Wales.
A small overall increase in the total number of licenses is shown, but the number of personal licenses rose despite a recent consultation to axe them. Temporary Event Notices (TENs) also rose. However a 27% drop in the number of licensing reviews on the previous year is unexplained.
The headline figures show in England and Wales there are:
- 204,400 premises licences, 1% (1,900) more than the previous year
- 15,700 club premises certificates, 2% (-300) fewer than the previous year
- 544,600 personal licences, 7% (34,300) more than the previous year
24 Hour licenses
There were 7,672 24-hour alcohol licences in force on 31 March 2013. 45% of all 24-hour alcohol licences were in hotel bars, mostly open for guests only but 15% (481) were open to the public as well. Pubs, bars, and nightclubs accounted for 12% (918) of 24-hour alcohol licences.
Supermarkets and stores accounted for 28% (2,082) of 24-hour alcohol licences, of which 53% (1,072) were for convenience stores and the remaining 47% (963) were for large supermarkets. Whilst the overall number of 24 hour licenses remained stable, there was a 5% rise in the number of supermarkets of shops with such a license.
Based on data received from LAs and estimates for non-respondents, 800 reviews were completed in the year to 31 March 2013, down 27% (300) on the previous year.
574 completed reviews were for crime and disorder, 268 were for public nuisance, 266 were for protection of children, and 165 were for public safety. The police were the main responsible authority, instigating 59% (460) of reviews, with trading standards instigating 21% (165). Environmental health officers and local residents instigated 9% (70) and 6% (47) respectively.
Following reviews, the majority (471) resulted in conditions being added to the licence or modified, 150 resulted in a licence being revoked or a club certificate being withdrawn, and 98 resulted in a suspension. No action was taken following 58 reviews.
Cumulative Impact Areas & TENs
A cumulative impact area is an area that the LA has identified in their licensing policy statement as having a saturation of licensed premises and the ‘cumulative impact’ of any additional licensed premises could affect the licensing objectives. Based only on data received from LAs, there were 175 cumulative impact areas in place on 31 March 2013.
There were 138,300 temporary event notices (TENs) used in the year to 31 March 2013, 4% (5,600) more than in the previous year, and 13% (16,200) more than in the year to 31 March 2009
Re-balancing the licensing act?
On the 25th April 2012 the majority of the licensing changes set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (PRSA) 2011 came into force. These followed 'Rebalancing the Licensing Act - a consultation on empowering individuals, families and local communities to shape and determine local licensing'.
Whilst the proposals did not set out to change figures on licenses and reviews per-se, a significant drop in reviews does start to raise questions about the so-called 're-balancing'. Few councils have implemented late Night Levies or EMROs, and there has been no easy route for public health to influence change.
Nonetheless, a number of toolkits and guidance documents have been released to try and support local action in England, including developing effective public health responses - recent Public Health Licensing event presentations here.