The Licensing Act 2003: a step in the right direction?

Foster, John, Herring, Rachel ORCID logoORCID:, Waller, S. and Thom, Betsy ORCID logoORCID: (2009) The Licensing Act 2003: a step in the right direction? Journal of Substance Use, 14 (2) . pp. 113-123. ISSN 1465-9891 [Article] (doi:10.1080/14659890802654532)


The Licensing Act 2003 (covering England and Wales) introduced greater flexibility to the UK licensing laws, including the possibility of 24-h licenses. This paper reports a nation wide survey of 225 (63%) local authority chairs of licensing committees/senior members of licensing teams in England evaluating the short-term impact of the Act. A cumulative impact (saturation) area was only declared in 38 (17%) local authorities. Extended hours applications were more common than new applications in both on- and off-licensed premises. The perception of those surveyed was of 'no change' in the following alcohol-related variables; public noise levels (n = 133, 59%) violence and fights (n = 130, 60%), under-aged drinking (n = 143, 67%), crime (n = 141, 68%), and drink-driving (n = 157, 86%). Contrary to the picture often presented in certain parts of the mass-media, the impact of the Licensing Act appears to be neutral. However, these are likely to be the result of a number of intervening factors, rather than the change to a more liberalized licensing regime. The role of the police would seem to be fundamental. Future research will need to disentangle the impact of these intervening factors and it will be a number of years before the impact of these changes can be assessed.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
ISI Impact: 0
Item ID: 3690
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Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2010 14:30
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2022 16:28

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