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Historically, licensing has been concerned primarily with crime and disorder, trade regulation and public safety. However, it is argued that because health impacts are linked to alcohol consumption, and consumption is influenced by availability, there is a need for public health bodies to play an active role in licensing activities and the regulation of the number of premises that sell alcohol in a defined area.

Licensable activities covered under the Licensing Act 2003 include:

  • The sale of alcohol by retail
  • The supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club or to the order of a member
  • The provision of regulated entertainment (for example, a performance of a play, boxing match, performance of live music)
  • Provision of late night refreshments (the supply of hot food or hot drink to members of the public on or off the premises between the hours of 11pm and 5am including takeaways and burger vans)

Applications for a license are made to a defined list of responsible authorities (RAs). The role of RAs is to comment on applications and make representations to the licensing authority if they think the application threatens one of the statutory licensing objectives.

The licensing objectives under the 2003 Licensing Act are:

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

Information on local services can be obtained from:

Further information about links between alcohol licensing and health is available from: