Late-night levies & EMROs: progress report

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensing committee London

Newcastle was the first council to implement a late-night levy
Newcastle was the first council to implement a late-night levy
An update on the situation across the country by licensing specialists Poppleston Allen.

Late-night levy

Newcastle was out of the blocks very soon after the turn of the year with its consultation for the LNL. The process was completed on 18 September and the proposed implementation date is 1 November 2013.

Newcastle confirmed a 30% discount for premises that sign up to its best-practice scheme, to be assessed by reference to its best-practice document. The council also stated that, as the scheme develops, there will be more than one level of membership in recognition of those premises showing high levels of best practice and a commitment to improve.

Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) followed with a recommendation by the licensing committee in September to adopt the LNL. However, this was rejected at a meeting of the full council on 23 October.

Currently, Cheltenham (Gloucestershire), the City of London Corporation, Plymouth (Devon), Tameside (Greater Manchester), and York are in the consultation process.

The Woking (Surrey) licensing committee rejected both the LNL and the EMRO scheme recently and Liverpool, Bristol, Camden (north-west London), Chelmsford (Essex), Cheshire East, Islington (north London), Lambeth (south London) and Leeds (West Yorkshire) are in the preconsultation phase. If past experience repeats itself there is no guarantee that any or all will adopt the measures of the LNL.


There is significantly more to lose if you are a licensee and an EMRO is considered necessary in the area in which you operate. Unlike the LNL (which allows you to continue to sell alcohol albeit with a levy to pay for the privilege), the EMRO prevents that activity beyond a specified hour. 

An EMRO is not an easy process to go through and several attempts have fallen at the first hurdle due partly to procedural flaws. 

The Hartlepool (County Durham) licensing authority started the EMRO process in February. The hearing to determine their 2am to 6am EMRO was held in May and rejected by the licensing committee, based on the committee’s recognition of the “serious financial implications” such a decision would have on local licensees. Consideration has been deferred for a further year.

Northampton informally consulted on an EMRO and, having taken notice of the responses, decided to reject the proposal. 

Warrington (Cheshire) police submitted a report to the council and licensing committee, which held a meeting on 3 September. The police had suggested a terminal hour of 2am but, at a meeting on 15 October, a decision was made not to proceed with the EMRO.

The Kingston-upon-Thames (south-west London) licensing committee considered whether to begin the EMRO process (3am to 6am for the town centre) based on police recommendations. At a meeting on 17 October the committee voted 14 to one against proceeding, deciding to review the position in a year’s time, but only if police provide more substantial evidence. Anecdotal evidence suggests the single vote was an abstention on the basis that there wasn’t any need to even review the proposal. In a nutshell, therefore, a resounding ‘no’ to the EMRO.

Harrow Council (north-west London) agreed at the end of July that an EMRO would go out to formal consultation for the Stanmore area. This was an unusual consultation as the 2am to 6am EMRO would take place only between November and January and it was initiated primarily by the licensing authority itself. 

Following procedural issues and further consultation with the licensees affected, the licensing authority cancelled the EMRO proposal. I remain unsure why a consultation with the licensees (who it would appear were very ready to talk to the licensing authority) could not have occurred without the expense and paperwork of an aborted EMRO.

Blackpool Council (Lancashire) had set a date for its EMRO hearing on 4 and 5 September 2013. This was deferred due to procedural irregularities and a new hearing date is to be announced. Norwich has cancelled its first EMRO consultation and will review again in 2014.

Informal interest or pre-consultation is taking place in Barnsley (South Yorkshire), Bristol, Camden, Forest Heath (Suffolk), Lambeth, Lewisham (south-east London), Manchester, Sunderland (Tyne & Wear), Swindon (Wiltshire), Watford (Hertfordshire) and West Lancashire.

Poppleston Allen is constantly reviewing the situation and opposing EMROs with trade partners where it can, but if you hear of other EMRO or LNL proposals, please let us know.

View an interactive map of the latest council consultations

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