About Licensing

The Licensing Act 2003 supports a number of key aims, including encouraging the community to participate in licensing decisions and giving local residents the opportunity to get involved in raising alcohol licensing concerns in their neighbourhood.

Everywhere that supplies (sells) alcohol must have a premises licence, including supermarkets, convenience stores, pubs and restaurants that sell or serve alcohol. These are either Permanent Premises Licences or Temporary Event Notices for specific events (the public cannot object to Temporary Events Notices only the Police and Environmental Health).
The licensing authority (local authority licensing department within your local council) has a Statement of Licensing Policy which sets out how it will carry out its function in respect of individual applications made under the terms of the Licensing Act 2003.

The Licensing Act 2003 sets out four objectives. All licensees must demonstrate how they are going to follow these objectives in order to be a responsible retailer. All licensing decisions must also be made with reference to the four licensing objectives (below):

  1. The prevention of crime and disorder:  Includes anti-social behaviour / assault / selling alcohol to under 18s / selling illicit alcohol / not having registered door supervisors / illegal workers.
  2. Public safety:  The physical safety of people, prevention of accidents and injuries and other immediate harms resulting from alcohol consumption such as unconsciousness or alcohol poisoning, fire safety, appropriate access for emergency services
  3. The prevention of public nuisance:  Noise nuisance / light pollution, noxious smells and litter that affect those living and working near a licensed premises.
  4. The protection of children from harm:  Includes harm from alcohol consumption i.e. supplying (selling) alcohol to under 18s / child sexual exploitation / prevention of access to premises that provide adult entertainment / restrictions of access during certain times.

The Licensing Act 2003 lists the following responsible authorities. Their role is to assess all licence applications, make relevant representations and request review of licences when it is deemed relevant:

  • The Licensing Authority (local council)
  • Chief Constable Police
  • Fire and Rescue Service
  • Director of Public Health
  • Trading Standards Department
  • Environmental Health Department
  • Planning Department
  • Area Child Protection Board
  • Home Office

Note: Members of the public can also request that the licensing authority (local council) review a licence. More information on the process can be found within the Step By Step guide.

The government issued guidance under section 182 (April 2018) of the Licensing Act 2003 can be found by clicking here.

Each council’s website will have an area that holds all licence applications and you can check the site to find out about applications in your area. To find more information, please visit your local council’s website.