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Alcohol: cumulative impact policies

Published Thursday, July 23, 2015

Licensing authorities can adopt cumulative impact policies where there is evidence that the concentration of licensed premises in an area is negatively impacting on the licensing objectives that underpin the Licensing Act 2003. The effect of adopting a policy is to “create a rebuttable presumption” against the granting of new premises licences

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The “cumulative impact” of licensed premises is not mentioned in the Licensing Act 2003 but is covered in guidance for licensing authorities, issued under section 182 of the Act, where it means “the potential impact on the promotion of the licensing objectives of a significant number of licensed premises concentrated in one area.”  The 2003 Act’s licensing objectives are:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • the protection of children from harm

After consultation, a licensing authority can include a cumulative impact policy (CIP) within the statement of licensing policy that it is required to publish. The effect of adopting a CIP is to “create a rebuttable presumption” that applications for premises licences which are likely to add to the existing cumulative impact will normally be refused or subject to certain limitations unless the applicant can demonstrate that there will be no negative impact on the licensing objectives.

Statements of licensing policy should always allow for each licence application to be considered properly and for applications that are unlikely to add to the cumulative impact on the licensing objectives to be granted.

There are over 200 policies in place in England and Wales, with some local authorities having more than one.


Commons Briefing papers CBP-7269

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Licensing

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