The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (PRSRA) 2011 gave local authorities the power to introduce a Late Night Levy on licensed premises opening after midnight. The Levy is intended as a means of making the providers of late night entertainment make a greater contribution to the costs it imposes on the police.
The PSRRA also extended the flexibility of the power provided by the Licensing Act 2003 to introduce Early Morning Restriction Orders enabling licensing authorities to restrict sales of alcohol in the whole or a part of their areas for any specified period between 12 midnight and 6 am, if they consider this necessary to address the problems caused by late night drinking.
However, early indications are that local authorities are reluctant to make use of these extra powers, a reluctance not unconnected with the fact that they are highly unpopular with sections of the alcohol and entertainment industry.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) are reported to have set up a ‘fighting fund’ to cover the cost of legal challenges against EMROs or the levy. In a BBC radio discussion, Brigid Simmonds of the British Bdeer and Pub Association argued that pubs would suffer if the on trade are further targeted, pointing out 70% of alcohol is now sold off-trade.
Poppleston Allen, a leading firm of licensing solicitors, has surveyed local authorities in England and Wales to assess the current state of play in regard to EMROs and the Late Night Levy. Below is their summary of findings. As can be seen, no EMROs have yet been approved.
Hartlepool – EMRO proposed from 02:00 – 06:00. Consultation started on 14 February 2013 and finished 28th March 2013. Hearing set 7th May 2013. The proposed EMRO would come into force on 13th August 2013 and apply to the general town centre area of Hartlepool incorporating, amongst others, Victoria Road and adjoining streets, Church Square and Church Street and adjoining streets.
OUTCOME – Committee rejected the EMRO. Will be considered (possibly in approx. 1 year.
Blackpool – Council confirmed consultation on EMRO proposal 13 June 2013. Last date for reps 25 07 2013. Proposed from 03:00 and designated area on map. Alcohol sales on Xmas day as well as New Year’s Day to be exempt.
Chesterfield – Council considering EMRO consultation. EMRO to be proposed from 03:00 hrs. Needs to be considered by Chief Executive, Scrutiny, and the Cabinet prior to reaching Licensing Committee – more details to follow (Consultation may be in July).
Norwich – Licensing confirmed that there have been proposed 3 x EMRO zones all 03:00 to 06:00 (Mon to Fri), 03:45 to 06:00 (Sat to Sun). This was agreed at Licensing Committee but needs to be further agreed by Full Council Committee on 25 June 2013. Once approved, consultation will begin.
Camden – Initial pre-consultation took place in January 2013 and there was little interest. However, this may change depending upon the outcome of the LNL situation.
Guildford – Licensing confirmed there were initial talks of a 01:00 hrs EMRO, but also looking at the possibility of a BID.
Northampton – Licensing confirmed there were lots of responses to informal public consultation (both positive and negative). The Committee will look at the information report on the 18th of June.
Plymouth – Licensing confirmed there was a pre-consultation of both Levy and EMRO. However, the Licensing Authority are awaiting Police data prior to proceeding further.
Warrington – Initial discussions have taken place as the Licensing Officer confirmed there had been Police interest. Nothing has progressed so far.
Weymouth – There was a Committee meeting held on 7 February 2013. It was decided it was best to hold back for a year before considering implementing and analyzing statistics to warrant proposing EMRO.
East Hertfordshire – Hertfordshire, East of England – Licensing confirmed EMRO to be discussed at July Committee, possibly propose 01:30 to 06:00. At present no confirmation as to proposal on specific areas, the Police to produce report in order to decide this. UPDATE – NO LONGER PROCEEDING.
West Lancashire – Licensing confirmed Police gathering information for EMRO. Informal consultation is taking place – last date for representations was the 7th of June 2013. Mixed response – will go before Committee on the 16th of July.
Watford – Licensing Officer confirmed that they may seek to introduce an EMRO in the Autumn if alcohol related crime and disorder issues cannot be resolved.
Sunderland – Licensing confirmed Police have been consulted: however there has been no formal decision to proceed.
Liverpool – Committee meeting took place on the 24th of April 2013 – Licensing Officer is to gather further information before a formal decision will be made. Should be able to obtain further information in mid June.
Forest Heath – Licensing have confirmed there were initial talks in October/November 2012. Looking to draft a paper on EMRO to be considered by Licensing Committee, possible in June.
Barnsley – Possibly consider the EMRO but no plans to consult until the end of the year (at the earliest)
Lewisham – Slight interest from the Police but no further developments as of yet.
Brentwood – Public talk on June 10th regarding all 3 x matters (EMRO, LNL, CIP).
Report will now be produced but by no earlier than September. General opinion is there is not enough evidence and that a pubwatch/voluntary contribution scheme will be preferred.
Kingston upon Thames – Licensing committee decided on 9 May 2013 that they will not look to consider a Levy. Instead they are looking into an EMRO (suggested 03:00). They will gather evidence in conjunction with police. Next licensing meeting in October 2013.
Woking – Questionnaire circulated as part of the formal LNL consultation. No proposed hours provided at this stage.
Swindon – Police interest, so Licensing are due to prepare a report prior to any further movement.
Bristol – EMRO discussed at Council on June 10th as part of discussions re LNL. Will be looked at again in December.