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Alcohol licensing: cumulative impact assessments

Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019

This Library Briefing Paper gives an overview of alcohol licensing and cumulative impact assessments in England and Wales.

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Under the Licensing Act 2003, responsibility for alcohol licensing in England and Wales rests with local authorities. This includes the issuing of premises licences and club premises certificates. The Act has four licensing objectives:

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

Section 5 of the Act requires a licensing authority to publish a statement of its licensing policy at least every five years. A policy must take into account any cumulative impact assessment (CIA) an authority has published under section 5A of the Act. The aim of a CIA is to limit the growth of licensed premises where the promotion of the licensing objectives is being compromised.

CIAs did not have a statutory basis until 6 April 2018 when section 141 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 came into force and amended the 2003 Act. Until that date, “cumulative impact” and cumulative impact policies were only described in Home Office guidance on the Licensing Act.

According to the Government, giving CIAs a statutory basis will “provide greater clarity and legal certainty about their use”.

Detailed information on statements of licensing policy and CIAs is available in chapter 14 of Home Office guidance (April 2018).

The Gov.UK website gives an overview of alcohol licensing in England and Wales.



Commons Briefing papers CBP-7269

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Licensing

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