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Licensing Act 2003 – duplication

Comment 2nd July 2010

History and experience has informed us that the most effective way of controlling licenced premises is through the times of operation and activities permitted to be carried out. However, LA03 is now one of the most extrodinary examples of regulatory excess in existence.

Before the introduction of LA03 there was a plethora of adequate regulation in place by which to tackle issues covered by the licensing four objectives – and it still exists. Statutory nusiance powers and night noise fines prevent and resolve noise issues; health & safety legislaiton requires the protection of the public from potential safety issues; there are under-age drinking laws and offences, drunkeness and anti-social behaviour offences etc. etc. etc.

My suggestions are by no means radical and are as follows:

1.Remove the ability for licensing committees to impose conditions other than those specifying times of operation and activities permitted;

2.Remove all existing conditions on premises licences;

3.Keep the review and representation processes in place for responsible authorities and local residents;

4.Keep the civil sanctions in place for licensing committees;

5.Reinforce duties of "responsible" authorities and clarify roles. Punish responsible authorities who do not carry out their duties effectively and ensure that they have suitable mechanisms/procedures for enforcing existing (non-LA03) legislation properly.

Why does this matter?

Under the current system the licenced trade are subject to onerous and duplicitous demands made by licencing authorities.

Adequate laws already exist by which to deal with many of the issues raised at licensing hearings.

Thousands of pounds of public money is spent on each licensing hearing unecessarily.

The legilsation causes confusion and inconsistency in responsible authorities and causes duplication and unecessary expense in enforcement.

My proposals bring clarity and reinforce the existing duties that already exist for responsible authorities – the clue is in the word "responsible".

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