Licensing Board meet to finalise new Policy Statement for the Highlands

A special meeting of the Highland Licensing Board took place yesterday in Inverness to consider the draft Licensing Policy Statement for 2013-2016. The draft has been out for public consultation so yesterday members were able to discuss the responses received and make alterations to the draft.

The new Policy Statement will not come into effect until the end of November 2013.

The two main changes to the current policy concern Sunday hours and the use of plastic glasses.

Currently, the hours during which the Board will permit the sale of alcohol on a Sunday at on-sales premises, or where an occasional licence is sought, are generally restricted to between 1200 hours and midnight.  However, under the new policy hours, which will come into effect from the end of November 2013, the Board will generally grant Sunday hours from 1100 hours and 0100 hours the following day where applied for.  Existing licence holders will be able to apply to vary their premises licences to take advantage of these longer Sunday hours if they so wish.

At present only late opening premises are required to serve drinks in plastic or polycarbonate glasses from 9pm onwards.  Yesterday the Licensing Board voted to alter the existing policy so that a requirement to serve drinks in plastic glasses at particular times may be imposed on any on-sale premises, including those opening late, but only where it is considered appropriate on the basis of individual risk assessment at that particular premises.  The Board will take advice from Police Scotland and Licensing Standards Officers on the assessment of risk at a premises before deciding whether to impose the requirement.

Premises currently already subject to this plastic glasses requirement as a condition of their licence will be notified that variation applications to remove the requirement from their licence will be considered by the Board, in consultation with Police Scotland and Licensing Standards Officers.

The final wording of the Policy Statement will be presented to the next meeting of the Highland Licensing Board to be formally adopted.  It will come into force at the end of November 2013 once the current policy expires.
Chair of the Board, Councillor Maxine Smith said:  “I’d like to thank all the individuals, community groups, licensees, forums and public agencies for taking part in the consultation. I think we took on board the majority of suggestions and I look forward to the new Licensing Policy Statement being fully adopted at our next meeting.”

28 Aug 2013