Nicholls J (2015) Public Health and Alcohol Licensing in the UK: Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications for Policy and Practice. Contemporary Drug Problems, 42 (2), pp. 87-105. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091450915579875
This article discusses the role of public health in alcohol licensing in the UK, with a particular focus on the implementation of national legislation and guidance in local regulatory environments. It identifies a number of practical and theoretical challenges through an analysis of historical trends in licensing practice, recent policy developments, and key licensing decisions and appeals. There are strong historical precedents for a focus on strategic harm reduction in UK licensing; however, because licensing primarily addresses the proximate effects of retail, the incorporation of health considerations presents novel difficulties. These center on the identification and deployment of data, the attribution of population-level harms to individual outlets, alcohol industry resistance, local authority risk aversion, and epistemological tensions between public health and licensing. The conclusion proposes that for public health perspectives to gain traction in the licensing environment, clear and realistic goals need to be established, research needs to emphasize local data, and there needs to be a better understanding of the approaches to evidence, knowledge, and decision making that characterize licensing and other local regulatory services.
alcohol; licensing; public health; policy
Contemporary Drug Problems: Volume 42, Issue 2