Blog: Olly WehringUK licensing changes - six months on

Olly Wehring | 23 May 2006

Today, we celebrate the six-month anniversary of changes in the licensing laws in England and Wales.  The changes were trumpeted with prophets of doom and gloom in this country’s press, who had a field day warning of blood in the streets. So, after half a year, what colour are our roads?

Well, you’ll be delighted to here that there is certainly no more ruby red in the roads than there was before and, although it is nigh on impossible to answer definitively whether the changes have increased or decreased our drinking problems, things seem pretty much the same round here.

According to Neil Williams from the British Beer and Pub Association: “There has been limited change in city centres. The new system is allowing people to stay in their favourite local pub longer on certain nights rather than traipse into town to go to a bar.”

I can concur with this. On nights out in (London) town, I’ve found it quite hard to find a pub around Leicester Square open past 11pm for a quiet drink (although the 'super pubs' are open, I tend to give them a wide berth). My local pub, however, is regularly open until around midnight most nights.

The real test, however, is still ahead of us. With the World Cup just over a fortnight away, and (hopefully) some long, hot summer nights ahead, we could be in for a boisterous few months over here.

For an in-depth look at the “Storm in a pint glass” from the BBC, click here.


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