The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Friday 2nd June 2006 - Simplify licensing law - government wants your view

'The Government wants your help in tackling unnecessary regulation', says the Better Regulation Executive.

'We want to receive practical proposals for regulatory simplification from business, the voluntary and community sectors, public sector front line staff and any of their representatives.'


The downloadable guidance includes this caveat:

'The Government recognises that some regulations are required in order to provide necessary protections such as to employees or the environment. We will consider simplifying these regulations, for example by removing duplication, but not at a cost to those being protected.'

Interestingly, later this year new fire safety legislation should come into force that will explicitly disapply fire safety conditions imposed on premises licences under the Licensing Act. This is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, originally due to come into force 1st April 2006, now deferred to 1st October 2006: .

Responsibility for fire safety will reside exclusively with the fire service and whoever counts as the 'responsible person' at the venue making the appropriate risk assessments. Local authority involvement in fire safety through licensing will end. Given that existing safety law already allows both the fire service and environmental health officers to address most, if not all, risks arising from live music (including safe capacities), it is hard to see how any safety condition imposed via the Licensing Act would not duplicate what is already available.

This no doubt why, in terms of the licensing objectives, DCMS now only cites noise as the rationale for abolishing the 'two in a bar rule'.

Hamish Birchall