Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Eighteenth Report


Letter from George Howarth MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office

I am enclosing a Home Office consultation document about relaxing licensing hours on New Year's Eve, beginning with the Millennium. As you will see, respondents are asked for views on a 12 hour relaxation, or alternatively on a 5 hour relaxation. The paper also contains proposals for enhanced protections against premises which cause nuisance.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the Government proposes to bring forward a deregulation order to make the changes in licensing legislation which would be necessary.

The Government's current review of liquor licensing legislation will be looking at the question of licensing hours generally, and I expect that review to bring forward proposals for primary legislation in due course. The proposals for a deregulation order are being made in the light of representations made to us that substantial benefits would flow from deregulating the present system of granting late night extensions, which operate in an inconsistent and costly manner.

9 November 1998

Memorandum from Blackpool Borough Council

The Council's Environmental Health and Public Protection Committee debated the above proposals at their meeting on 27 January 1999.

The Committee being aware that Blackpool had some 160 places of Pubic Entertainment and approximately 3,000 premises licensed to sell alcoholic beverages to visitors and/or residents, believed that a 12 hour extension which would effectively permit continuous drinking for 36 hours was unnecessary but appreciated that the deregulation proposal was appropriate.

Accordingly they resolved to support a five hour extension (option 3).

1 February 1999

Memorandum from the British Institute of Innkeeping

The British Institute of Innkeeping is the professional body for licensed retailing and represents over 17,000 professional qualified members. In addition we are an awarding body for N/SVQs and for our own qualifications - in 1998 we awarded over 46,000 individual qualifications. As the largest and the only national organisation for individual licensees, we welcome this opportunity to make our members' views on New Year's Opening Hours available to the Government.

In order to provide the most comprehensive response to the Government's proposals, the Institute issued a questionnaire to 6,359 of our higher grade membership. In addition to gauging our members' views on the proposals for New Year's Opening hours, we extended the questionnaire in order to get as full a picture as possible about what our members are planning for Millennium New Year's Eve and the consequences for staff. We were delighted to receive over 1,800 responses representing a 29 per cent. return rate. This represents a response from approximately 3 per cent. of all UK pubs.

We believe that this research represents the first significant survey of this type and we enclose the full report as it contains information which we think will be of interest to Ministers and the Lords Committee. We will, of course, make this information widely available to our members and to employers in the sector and will be releasing it to the press for 15 February 1999. We would be grateful if you could treat the report as confidential until the 15 February.

Referring to paragraph 9 in the attached report, you will see that while 25 per cent of respondents appear to support the status quo, nearly half of these (48 per cent.) are managers as opposed to tenants/lessees or free trade. We believe that many of those who supported the status quo did so because of personal preference relating to their own pubs and there was no evidence that they objected to deregulation.

Significantly, 67 per cent. of respondents support deregulation with 34 per cent. supporting the all night option. Paragraph 23 of the report shows that there is much greater support for longer hours in the tenant/lessee and free trade sectors and it is important to note that these are independent business people running smaller outlets. Thus, maximum deregulation will be warmly welcomed by these small businesses.

Paragraph 10 shows that 70 per cent. of pubs want to remain open past midnight, 54 per cent. past 1a.m. and at least 6 per cent. past 4 a.m.

In view of the above findings, the British Institute of Innkeeping believes that full deregulation is the best option as it allows choice for different styles of operation. We note that the courts will retain the provision for restriction orders and we accept that this is desirable. However, we do urge that licensees are given the opportunity to present their case in full where restriction orders are being considered.

Furthermore, we note that public entertainment licences will be considered separately by Local Authorities and we recommend that they are encouraged to make their decisions in parallel with any new arrangements for opening hours.

We hope that this research makes a useful contribution to the consultation and we are happy to discuss its contents with you further if required.

9 February 1999

Memorandum from the Free Church Council of Wales

The Free Church Council of Wales, as its meeting in Aberystwyth on April 28th considered the Government's proposals for making a Draft Deregulation (New Year Licensing) Order and the request of the House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation for the Council's observations.

Among the members of the Council present were a retired Circuit Judge and a retired senior police officer. The full Council, with one abstention, resolved to convey to the Select Committee its profound concern at the proposals and to urge upon the Government, in the public interest, to reconsider its decision and to desist from laying the proposed Order before Parliament.

The grounds of our concern are:-

Experience has shown that whenever and wherever facilities for the sale and consumption of alcohol are increased, whether in terms of place or time, there is an overall increase in the quantity of drink consumed by individuals.

Licensing laws are based on the perceived need to control a trade which has inherent social dangers.

The proposals, if ratified, will inevitably give rise to an increase in drink-related crime, both in terms of violence to the person and damage to property. This is already a major problem in most towns in Wales, both in industrial and, latterly, in rural parts of the country. In the last twenty years, in the experience of the Courts and the police, this has led to most town-centres being "no-go" areas at night and at weekends to law abiding citizens.

To substitute for the permitted hours a 24 hour open period will place an impossible burden on police forces, already under-manned, and on the casualty services in hospitals and the ambulance service which are at breaking-point, as it is, in the peak-drinking periods at week-ends and on public holidays.

It will involve imposing substantial and unnecessary additional costs on the public with no additional benefit to them.

It will place an immense strain on responsible licensees.

It gives the wrong signal to all and sundry in Wales where excessive drinking is a major problem in terms of health.

Deregulation cannot but adversely affect family life with one or even both parents taking advantage of all-night drinking to the detriment of the children.

We note with regret and disapproval the contents of paragraph 5 of the Explanatory Document. We must make it quite clear to the Government that the Millennium has no significance other than to celebrate the coming of God in the person of Jesus Christ into the world and the division of time and history into two distinct periods, what occurred before and what happened after His coming. The proposals made are completely inappropriate for this purpose and are abhorrent.

To seek to justify deregulation on the ground that it will remove the need for licensees to apply for extended hours and that it "would benefit the courts and the police who have to consider ... applications" and that it will benefit the trade and the public for there to be "more consistent opening hours" is pitiful were it not for the fact that it completely overlooks the immense problems created.

We note the provision for restriction orders. If the provisions for deregulation are abandoned, as we consider necessary for the public good, the question of restriction orders will not arise. If, however, the Government persists in going on with deregulation, we consider the proposals for restriction order to be inadequate. They place an unnecessary burden, in terms of time and costs on these making applications, whether the police, local residents or local authorities. There is an inherent disincentive in these proposals. Moreover anomalies are bound to arise as between different petty sessional divisions and different local authority areas.

We note, too, that the proposed Order is not restricted to the Millennium but is to apply to every New Year. We have no doubt that it will be cited as a precedent for its extension to other public holidays.

For these reasons, the Order, as it stands, is a bad Order on all counts and we accordingly call upon the Government to reconsider its proposals and to desist from presenting the Order for confirmation.

May 1999

Letter from the Institute of Alcohol Studies

Dear Sir/Madam,

Liquor Licensing Deregulation. New Year's Eve Licensing Hours

I am enclosing the submission we made to the Home Office on the above measure and which we hope the Committee will take into consideration. We hope that the Committees will also take into account some additional points arising from the Government's Explanatory Document. I am grouping these with reference to criteria 'b', 'c', and 'd' given in paragraph 6 of the Annex to the Consultation Paper.

'b' The Burden to be Removed

You will see that in our original submission we argued that the reasons given in the Consultation Paper for introducing the reforms in regard to the alleged burden on the counts etc. were bogus. The Explanatory Document implicitly concedes that our view is correct, and that the burden on the courts of granting applications for extending hours is not, in fact, as it was described in the Consultation Paper. Consequently, the estimated savings for the licensed trade are now reduced from £28 million to £6.7.

We regard it as a highly unsatisfactory state of affairs that the Government's proposals for reform should be based on information later conceded to be fundamentally incorrect, resulting in the estimated savings being reduced by three quarters. Indeed, the new estimate of £6.7 million is based on the assumption that all licensed premises will seek extended hours, an assumption which we pointed out in our submission, is very unlikely to be true.

We hope that the Deregulation Committees will comment specifically on these aspects.

'c' Continue Necessary Protection

In our submission, we argued that the system of restriction orders proposed would be inadequate to protect local communities. The Explanatory Document gives no reason to alter this view.

More fundamentally, we also argued that extended drinking hours were acceptable so long as the Government could provided assurances in regard to the maintenance of public order and the operation of public services over the holiday period. We asked specifically for publication of the evidence on the basis of which the Government has come to the conclusion that its proposals will not have adverse effects.

We are naturally disappointed, therefore, that the Explanatory Document fails completely to answer these points The nearest it gets is making the following statement:

'Most problems are associated with all drinkers having to leave licensed premises at the same time. By removing a single closing time, people will not be as inclined to rush their drinking and will be able to leave gradually when they are ready. This should mean more civilised drinking and fewer flash points as people leave to go home.'

We can only repeat that mere assertion is not an argument, and that the refusal to give any hint of the supporting evidence renders it unacceptable as a basis for rational decision making, particularly as the statement flies in the face of what evidence is available. We refer you to this evidence in our submission. To those references we would add the evaluation of Safer Edinburgh Project published by the Scottish Office (J.K. Carnie 1994). One finding was that, contrary to the assertion above, deregulated closing times made the policing of the city more difficult, as the result was considerable numbers of people wandering homewards through the city centre streets throughout the night. The random incidents that occurred in consequence meant that police resources became overstretched and had regularly to be diverted from the dedicated high visibility patrolling that was intended to maintain public order.

'e' Impose a charge on public revenues

The findings from Edinburgh and other findings cited in our submission suggest that there is a clear danger that the Government's proposals will result in additional costs to the police and other public services. We assume that the Deregulation Committees will wish to comment specifically on this aspect of the matter, particularly as neither the Consultation Paper nor the Explanatory Document gives any indication of the scale of these costs or how they will be met.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew McNeill

Memorandum from the Institute of Alcohol Studies

New Year's Eve Licensing Hours

Liquor Licensing Deregulation: Consultation on New Year's Eve Licensing Hours

Response of the Institute of Alcohol Studies

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Institute of Alcohol Studies is concerned with the prevention of alcohol-related problems and it is from this perspective that we approach the issue of New Year's Eve licensing hours.

1.2 In summary, we have no objection to extended drinking hours on the eve of the Millennium and subsequent New Year's Eves, provided civic disruption can be avoided and public services maintained. However, we believe that no convincing case has been made out for the present proposals, and that it is unwise to impose all night extensions of drinking hours on local communities. We also doubt that the system of restriction orders proposed will prove to be adequate.

1.3 We thus regard the Government's proposals as being against the public interest in their present form and in the absence of certain assurances in regard to public order and to the operation of public services over the New Year period.

2.0 The Need for the Measure

2.1 The Consultation Paper states that tens of thousands of licensees seek extensions to permitted hours for New Years Eves, and that for the eve of the new Millennium virtually all licensed outlets will apply for extended hours. The Consultation Paper also states that processing such a large number of applications would place a significant burden on the courts and the police as well as on the licensed trade. We doubt both of these claims.

2.2 In regard to the supposed burden on the courts etc., our information is that licensing committees can decide policy on late night extensions for Christmas and New Year at the annual licensing meeting. There is nothing to stop them granting all night relaxations if they consider them appropriate. It is true that individual applications for extensions must be made, but we understand that where these conform to an already agreed general policy, processing them is a formality which does not amount to an undue burden. Applications can be made at any time after the policy has been decided at the annual licensing meeting: there is no need for all applications to be made at the last minute.[18] Any burden on the licensed trade is presumably small compared with the benefits of being granted extended hours.

2.3 As the reasons for the measure given in the Consultation Paper are clearly bogus, we conclude, therefore, that in reality the Government is motivated not by a wish to ease an administrative burden but, rather, to deny local licensing committees discretion in the granting of all night relaxations. Presumably, this is out of fear that some committees at least may not consider them desirable. In our view, it would be greatly preferable for the Government to be honest about this and to give their reasons for wishing to deny discretion to licensing committees.

2.4 Secondly, and ironically in view of the above, it is by no means certain that virtually all licensed outlets will seek all night extensions for Millennium Eve. There are reports that 'crippling staff costs and the threat of damage by drunken revellers' may mean that some large brewers and other retailers intend to keep their premises closed on 31 December/1 January, while other premises will close before midnight.[19] Moreover, as the closure of a significant proportion of licensed premises would probably put extra pressures (crowding, for example) on those that are open and to cause additional problems on the streets, it is even more important, in our view, that through licensing committees, local communities retain control of the situation, greater control than will be allowed by a system of restriction orders.

3.0 The Main Issues

3.1 We are concerned that the Government's proposals, particularly its preferred option of a 36 hour drinking binge from 11am 31 December, may have significant adverse effects on public order and on public services which are unlikely to be adequately controlled by a system of restriction orders.

3.2 Contrary to the mythology presently being constructed by the media, vested interests and some politicians, there is much evidence to suggest that extended or de-regulated nighttime drinking hours are by no means wholly benign but, rather, that they tend to increase crime, disorder and related problems, or at least to increase the difficulties of dealing with such problems at times when police and other public services' resources are at their most scarce. These problems can be considerably more serious than the 'noise and nuisance' referred to in the Consultation paper.

3.3 In New Zealand, de-regulated closing times resulted in increased alcohol problems, especially in town and city centres. In the evaluation report, police reported more arrests of drink drivers in early daylight hours following later drinking hours, and they complained that staffing levels were no longer sufficient to police the late hours, alcohol problems taking them away from other work, especially between 12 am - 4 am when they were having to deal with town centre drunks instead of dealing with a spate of burglaries.[20]

3.4 In Perth, Australia, extending nighttime drinking hours was followed by violent and sexual assaults more than doubling in and near late night trading hotels and clubs, compared to outlets keeping normal hours, and late night trading postponed or delayed alcohol related violence, road crashes and other accidents until after midnight when police and emergency services were more expensive and less able to cope with the increased demand.[21]

3.5 It was similar patterns of social disturbance in Scotland, following de facto de-regulation of closing times, that prompted the Scottish Office to demand better control of extended drinking hours in the late 1980's. The circular sent to the licensing boards stated.[22]

'From recent representations to the Secretary of State it is clear that, in a number of licensing board areas, the proliferation of regular late night extensions is causing difficulty and distress to local residents and to police in the maintenance of order in the early hours of the morning out of all proportion to any benefit the community may derive from the grant of such extensions.'

3.6 We are concerned that, barring the inadequate references to 'noise and nuisance' and restriction orders, this whole aspect of the issue is completely ignored in the Consultation Paper. Certainly, no grounds whatever are provided for believing that previous experience in the UK and elsewhere will not be repeated, and that 36 hours continuous drinking hours will not have adverse effects.

4.0 The Impact on Public Services

4.1 A particular cause of concern is the absence of any discussion in the Consultation Paper of the likely impact of extended drinking hours on public services. Indeed, the Consultation Paper only mentions one public service, the police, in relation to which it implies that the effects of the proposed changes will be wholly beneficial in regard to staff time and other resources.

4.2 Yet it seems inevitable that police resources are going to be stretched to the limit on the Eve of the Millennium. The Home Secretary himself has stated that 'All the problems of policing a typical New Year's Eve are likely to be multiplied several times' and that 'New Year's Eve 1999 will test police forces to the full'. He continued: 'Not only will police have to fully prepare to cope with official and unofficial celebrations taking place over the Millennium, but (in view of the 'Millennium Bug') the police have an important challenge to make sure their own computer systems and telecommunications systems continue to work normally.'[23]

4.3 In regard to police resources, it is reported that the Millennium Eve overtime bill for the Metropolitan Police alone is expected to be £12 million.[24] This, presumably, is hugely more than the financial savings derived from not having to deal individually with each application for extended drinking hours.

4.4 Similar considerations apply to the hospital service, accident and emergency departments in particular. The burden of alcohol (and other drug) abuse on A & E departments is already large and disruptive in normal circumstances, especially at nights and at weekends. Concern has already been expressed by the NHS Executive that any problems caused by the Millennium Bug will occur when the NHS is also struggling to cope with staff shortages, these problems being 'compounded by the fact that managers believe the NHS will face unprecedented pressures and demand over the (Millennium Eve) holiday period.'[25]

4.5 There is also the matter of public transport. This, too, may experience problems caused by the Millennium Bug and staff shortages, and to the extent that it does, hundreds or thousands of revellers celebrating Millennium Eve will, presumably, be left either wandering the streets on foot or getting into their cars: either eventuality could have serious implications for law and order and road safety.

4.6 We make no claims to be able to forecast the future. We can only comment that the dangers of public services being stretched to breaking point are obvious and we are astonished that the Consultation Paper ignores them totally.

5.0 Restriction Orders

5.1 The nearest the Consultation Paper gets to discussing these issues is in the section 'Necessary protection', which includes the proposal to provide a system of restriction orders.

5.2 Unfortunately, the social ills against which restriction orders are seen as a protection are defined far too narrowly in terms of noise and disturbance to local residents living in the immediate vicinity of individual licensed premises. It is possible that restriction orders may help to prevent problems of that kind, but it is difficult to see how they would provide a solution to the broader problems of civic disruption, possibly involving thousands of people milling around town and city centres, including non-residential areas. The precise locations of any social disturbances arising in such circumstances are unlikely to be wholly predictable in advance and also unlikely to be related exclusively to one individual licensed outlet.

5.3 Clearly, therefore, what is required is that the licensing justices be encouraged to operate a policy in relation to late night opening for whole areas such as town centres and the access routes to them. We do not see any great force in the objection that this could result in varying closing times in different parts of the country. In the first place, different areas do have different needs. Secondly, retailers¹ decisions and the operation of market forces mean that there will be some variations in any case, irrespective of how the law is changed.

6.0 Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1 Our view is that there is a perfectly good case for extended drinking hours on Millennium Eve and subsequent New Year's Eves. We are concerned, however, that there is considerable evidence that greatly extended drinking hours can jeopardise public order, public safety and public services, and that social protection needs therefore to be maintained.

6.2 For this reason, we believe that it is preferable that extended drinking hours continue to be seen as a privilege rather than a right, and are granted by those with direct knowledge of local needs and circumstances. In view of the fact that the Government is now seeking to impose 36 hours continuous drinking hours we believe, that the Government is under an obligation to provide assurances that these dangers will not in the event be realised.

6.3 Presumably, the Government is convinced that its proposals will not result, for example, in additional disturbances on the streets or seriously ill people not being cared for properly in Accident and Emergency Departments because of intoxicated (and often abusive) revellers putting undue strain on the system. It would clearly be helpful for the Government to publish the information, evidence and advice on which it has arrived at these confident conclusions. In view of the possible impact on the health service, this should be done by means of statements by the Secretary of State for Health as well as the Home Secretary.

6.4 Even with such assurances, however, we do not believe that the proposed system of restriction orders will be adequate to control the potential problems. For the reasons given above, we believe that the licensing justices should be enabled to take a 'zonal' approach to late night extensions, and should not be wholly dependent on local residents anticipating noise and disturbance from individual pubs and clubs. We believe a stake holder approach should be employed. Helping to make proper arrangements for extended drinking hours on New Year's Eves should be one of the tasks of the local partnerships against crime that the Government is commendably promoting, but which are ignored totally in the present proposals. We also believe that NHS Health Trusts should be able to have their views taken into account by the licensing justices.

6.5 For these reasons, we believe that the present arrangements (Option 1) are the most appropriate, perhaps with some modification to facilitate the local community-based approach recommended above.

January 1999

Memorandum from The Lord's Day Fellowship in Wales

We have met in Swansea (May 7th) to discuss your letter of 22nd April and we oppose completely, as the Lord's Day Fellowship in Wales the proposals. We feel that it is irresponsible for a Government, in view of the social problem created by alcohol, to allow on-licensed premises and registered clubs to sell alcohol uninterrupted from the start of permitted hours on New Year's Eve until the end of permitted hours on New Year's Day. We feel strongly that the whole matter is dictated by selfish reasons and it seriously undermines our witness as Christian Churches and we believe that this permission should not be given for it infringes on the freedom and the life of homes and families who live near the clubs and the public houses.

We believe strongly that permission should not be given for this extended period of thirty six hours. After all we have as a Fellowship a long tradition of safeguarding the best traditions of Wales, and for decades all the premises were closed in Wales on a Sunday. Wales has not benefited socially, religiously or as a nation since we have undermined that tradition, and this is still our standpoint.

15 May 1999

Memorandum from the National United Temperance Council

On behalf of this Council I have been asked to respond to the Government's Liquor Licensing Deregulation consultation paper.

  1. The members would be grateful if you would consider the following comments in response to the items proposed under "Annex" clause 6.
  2. The burden will be increased on Police and Emergency services. It is unrealistic to think that longer opening hours will dilute the incidence of accidents or nuisance. The likelihood is that with undiminished intensity, they will be experienced over a longer period.
  3. The present protection to the public will be diminished. Hitherto the police and magistrates have provided this by considering the grant of extended hours, and the onus of applying has been on the licensees. That protection has been removed, and residents would have to seek protection themselves, by applying to the courts. This would put expense upon individuals, rather than those seeking to benefit from the longer opening hours.

Further, the nuisance can hardly be proved before the event, making such applications, in consequence, of little value.

  1. The committee of our Council represents Temperance Societies throughout the United Kingdom, and opposition to the longer opening hours, either five or twelve, is widespread.
  2. The extra costs mentioned under (B) above would fall upon the Public Revenues or the Exchequer.
  3. The proposals take no account of legislation in other European countries, where there are local alcohol limits for...and where random breath tests are permitted.

In view of these comments it is the sincere wish of this Council, that there shall be no alteration in the situation for opening licensed premises, and the granting of liquor licences for New Year Eve 1999 or in any subsequent New Year's Eve.

22 January 1999

Memorandum from Tameside Metropolitan Borough

The Environment Committee considered the consultation document on the New Year's Eve licensing hours on the 16th February 1999.

The Committee resolved to support option 2 - to relax the licensing hours for 12 hours.

I would be grateful if you could consider the Council's views when the New Year's Eve licensing hours are discussed.

18 February 1999

Memorandum from the UK National Committee for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Dependency

Our Committee has debated your deregulation proposal and has asked me to respond as follows.

We note that the proposals are a serious departure from the present licensing arrangements and we regret that the options proposed do not allow for a limiting of licensing rather than a relaxation of current licensing arrangements.

Since the deregulation proposal has been based on cost saving to magistrates, police and the licensed trade we feel that the deregulation proposals far from achieving their aims may well have the effect of escalating costs for the following reasons which we urge you to consider:

1. The costs saved in one sector of the justice system will be shifted to other sectors as a result of drink related offences and are likely to be increased.

2. Police costs will also be shifted and increased for the same reasons with additional costs accruing from the cancellation of police leave.

3. Costs to the NHS and voluntary support bodies on stand-by for the occasion will increase and produce a burden on the health-care system. The recent seasonal outbreak of flu has demonstrated that the service has proved barely adequate to meet crisis situations; these may coincide with prevailing adverse winter weather factors.

4. One sector of the drinks industry (JD Wetherspoon PLC) has already announced that it will close its public houses over the millennial new year's eve due to the high cost of servicing the overtime. Clearly then, extended drinking hours are no automatic saving of cost to the leisure industry.

We are concerned that public nuisance problems by their nature can only be complained off restrospectively, and that the mechanism of complaint will not be well known by the general public who will have to shoulder both the nuisance and the cost of complaint

A general short-coming in the proposal is that there is no national assessment mechanism before subsequent deregulation in respect of future new year's eves.

Furthermore, we do not read in the proposals that any special measures will be adopted to protect the public from the consequences of prolonged alcohol use. Such measures might include lowering the blood alcohol level to 50mg/ml and conducting random breath testing. Our Committee is also concerned that pedestrians and workers might be at risk and cause of risk due to prolonged alcohol use. Our comments are relevant to subsequent new year proposals or other, as yet unspecified, national celebratory occasions.

The Committee has no object to the attribution of the above points in your discussions. Thank you for your consideration of these points raised.

1 February 1999

Memorandum from the UK Noise Network


HM Home Office (HMHO) Consultation/Deregulation exercise concerning New Year Licensing Regulations appears to offer only two options for change, both involving sweeping changes to the Licensing Regulations.


The UK Noise Network, therefore, responds NO to Qi and NO to Qii.


The UK Noise Network (hereafter TNN) strongly objects to options one and two on the grounds that the proposals are seriously defective in their present form. The proposals are ill thought through involving fundamental changes which are likely to militate against existing HMG Policies, or lead to HMG Policy conflict:-

(a)  HMG Policy objectives seek to reduce neighbourhood crime and fear, improve residential amenity, improve public health and promote health awareness in order to secure an improved quality of life and reduce health care costs to the UK State.

(b)  HMP Policy objectives seek to promote health and safety at work, including citizens who MUST work during anti social hours in responsible occupations irrespective of time of day/night or festive season.

(c)  Changed circumstances: Clear evidence exists indicating a declining interest in Night-Clubs, and increasing interest in Public Houses, particularly those with entertainment licences.

(d)  Public health attitudes and beliefs are also material considerations in the HMHO proposals. Many citizens WILL suffer a serious diminution in their residential amenity from such sweeping changes, which are likely to impact upon their health.

(e)  The police are unlikely to become involved in noisy behaviour on licensed premises. These proposals take no account that complaint enforcement costs will be chiefly borne by local authorities (LA) not the police.

(f)  LA Public Health Authorities, however, have a poor record in controlling noise in the community, providing no guarantee whatsoever that citizens subjected to serious nuisance will be protected. It appears unrealistic and unreasonable to shift the burden of "policing" the liquor industry to individuals or small groups of ordinary citizens (so often poor, disadvantaged, sick or elderly) who are likely to be quite incapable of opposing "incivilities" and environmental harm via the local courts.

Annex 1 (enc extract National society for Clean Air & Environmental Protection [NSCA] Paper) clearly identifies many (not all) licensed premises as a major source of complaint (environmental variables). They are, therefore, often a very serious "environmental stress or

(g)  in local communities and must be dealt with as such. A crucial factor in the foregoing is the citizens need for the "health restorative processes of undisturbed sleep". (World Health Organisation Report 1995).

(h)  Other citizens working in the industry will be required to work long hours whilst subjected to very high levels of noise or other forms of pollution. All the foregoing impact upon HMG Policy The Health of the Nation leading to interdepartmental "Policy conflicts".


  1. Manifestly, the competence of the Home Office to deal with the substance of TNN objection is questionable. however, The Health of the Nation Policy may prove to be at the very heart of this matter.
  2. Noise, Sub Clinical and Clinical Stress: It is incontrovertible that any organism (including mankind) may only flourish within prescribed environmental parameters (the homeostatic processes), beyond which the organism will sicken and may die (see research by Claude Bernard, Hans Seyle et al). The foregoing clearly sets out the nexus between the internal milieu, the physical (external) and the cultural environments. TNN has consistently advised HMG (DETR) that noise related "stress" makes citizens ill.

TNN concludes that the dawn of millennium year 2000 is clearly a very special case, and that it is wholly reasonable to deal with it as such.

TNN, however, concludes that HMHO "blanket" proposals for permanent change are ill thought through and militate against the wider public interest. The Home Office has manifestly failed to balance the acknowledged economic or self serving interests of the liquor trade and its customers against the public interest, local environmental variables (amenity), health and local authority expenditure.

TNN urges HMHO (and the DETR) to continue to rely on present arrangements.

9 February 1999

Memorandum from the United Reformed Church - Wales Province

You wrote on 22nd April to Mr John Rhys, asking for views on the proposal for the Draft Deregulation (New Year Licensing) Order 1999. I have now succeeded John Rhys as Synod Clerk to the United Reformed Church in Wales, and am therefore replying to your letter.

We are aware that the provisions of this proposal have been given wide publicity and, it seems to us, have been generally received with acceptance if not enthusiasm. We as a body would not therefore wish to submit evidence or written views at this stage.

13 May 1999

Memorandum from the Wales Tourist Board

I refer to your letter dated 22 April 1999 regarding proposals for the uninterrupted sale of alcohol from the start of permitted hours on New Year's Eve until the end of permitted hours on New Year's Day. We understand this would apply to on-licensed premises and registered clubs.

The Wales Tourist Board is generally supportive of proposals to extend licensing hours. We supported the proposals for an extension of permitted hours on Friday and Saturday nights (Home Office consultation May 1996).

In 1995, the Wales Tourist Board reaffirmed its support for reforms to the liquor licensing system, welcoming the concept of 'cafe' style licences and advocating that polls for Sunday opening in Wales should cease.

The current proposals for New Year are in line with the Board's stated position regarding more flexible arrangements for the sale of alcohol and we offer our support.

7 May 1999

Memorandum from the Welsh Local Government Association

I am pleased to be able to respond with the views of local authorities in Wales on the proposals for the draft Deregulation (New Year Licensing ) Order 1999.

The majority of local authorities in Wales would have preferred a shorter extension to the operating hours. Concern has been voiced over the workload, resource implications and costs that are anticipated from considering applications for extensions to Public Entertainment Licences. It is appreciated, however, that eventually this could be incorporated into the annual licences.

Due to possible noise and disturbance, local authorities are pleased to note that the entertainment hours associated with public entertainment licences are not automatically being extended with the liquor hours.

Many liquor licensed premises are situated in residential areas and local authorities are concerned that they will need restriction orders to restrict the operating times of these premises. Local authorities are pleased to see that they will be able to apply for restriction orders to assist residents. However, it will result in considerable workload and expense in collating and applying for restriction orders in time for this Millennium Eve if it is not to result in disturbance of or annoyance to persons living in the neighbourhood of these premises.

I trust that you will be able to take the Association's comments into account.

10 May 1999

18   Information supplied by clerks and justices for a number of petty sessional divisions. Back

19   Cheers! The Millennium's Off. The Observer 10/1/99. Back

20   L Hill and L Stewart: The Sale of Liquor Act 1989: Local Perspectives. Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit. Auckland, New Zealand 1996. Back

21   T Chikritzis and T Stockwell. Evaluation of the Public Health and Safety Impact of Extended Trading permits for Perth Hotels and Night-clubs. The National Centre for Research into the Prevention of Drug Abuse. Curtin University of Technology. Back

22   Circular Number SHHD20/1988. Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 Section 64(3) Regular Extension of Permitted Hours. Back

23   Police must be ready for the Millennium. Home Secretary. Home Office Press Release. 005/99 8th January 1999. Back

24   Cheers! The Millennium's Off. The Observer 10/1/99. Back

25   Millennium Bug Bites NHS Staff BBC News 7th January 1999. Back

previous page contents

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999