Local authorities have granted greater powers to revoke retailers’ alcohol licences following changes to licensing laws made earlier this week.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged retailers to review their systems and staff training, to ensure that under aged sales are prevented at every turn.
The changes, which came into effect on April 24, include:
- a reduced evidence threshold to undertake a review of a licence that may lead to additional licensing conditions or the revocation of a licence.
- the removal of the vicinity test, which will mean that objectors to an existing or new licence will not have to live or work near that premises.
- licensing authorities and public health agencies becoming responsible authorities, which will mean they can raise objections to a licence.
- an increase in the maximum fines that can be levied to £20,000.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said the changes also highlighted the importance of meaningful links between retailers and local decision-makers. “Your local licensing officer, police, councillors and health agencies need to know that you are a responsible retailer and a force for good in the community, so you need to tell them loud and clear,” he said.
The ACS is working with the government on its Alcohol Strategy, which contains further challenges for retailers including restrictions on multi-buy promotions, the introduction of public health as a licensing objective, and the introduction of cumulative impact policies to control the number of licences in an area.