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New licensing laws come into force

30/08/2009

Scots will have more scope to influence who is allowed to sell alcohol as a result of new laws that come into force this week.

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 means that anyone can ask a licensing board to review the licence of any place that sells alcohol.

It also means that anyone can object to an application and also make representations, including statements of support, to the board concerning a licensing application.

Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing said:

"This Government has always made clear that the right to sell alcohol comes with certain responsibilities. We are proud of our welcoming pubs and fine brews and spirits, but we want people to be able to enjoy them safely.

"The 2005 Act clearly sets out the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder, securing public safety, preventing public nuisance, protecting and improving public health and protecting children from harm. These are the key things both boards and licensees must aim to achieve.

"A big part of the Act is also about giving communities, and the individuals who make them up, more of a say in how alcohol is sold and who is allowed to sell it.

"There's no doubt that the sale of alcohol affects those who live in the area. That's why it's important that anyone will now be able to object to a new application for a licence.

"They will also be able to request the licensing board review an existing licence. This will be of particular benefit to those who live near noisy or nuisance premises - they will now be able to ask the board to take action.

"These new rights will mean people are able to have a greater say in and have more control over how alcohol affects the community they live in.

"The Act also means that irresponsible promotions in pubs and clubs will be banned, alcohol will be displayed in a dedicated area of a supermarket, and entitle pub customers to free tap water.

"This will play a part in rebalancing Scotland's relationship with alcohol and we will build on this with our plans to further tackle the culture of alcohol misuse by introducing a minimum price for a unit of alcohol."

The Licensing (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2005. It represents the biggest changes to the Licensing System in Scotland in over thirty years.

The changes introduced by the Act come fully into force on September 1, 2009.

Under the 1976 Act 'any person' owning or occupying premises situated in the neighbourhood of the premises, could object. However, due to the definition people found that objections were declared invalid, for example a Parents Teachers Association of a Primary School's objection declared invalid when they objected to an off sale situated beside the School because they did not live there. The new provision of the 2005 Act ensures such anomalies do not happen.