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Change To Late Hours Catering Licence Legislation

13th August 2012

Businesses in the Highlands are being advised to consider whether a forthcoming change to the licensing of late hours catering establishments will mean that they may now require a late hours catering licence.

A licence is currently required if businesses provide `meals or refreshments' to the public between 11pm and 5am, the most common types of premises being fast food takeaways and 24 hour opening supermarkets.

However a change in the legislation will mean that from 1 October 2012 the regulations will cover the sale of any kind of food. This would include items such as confectionary, chewing gum, bottled water and soft drinks.

This means that in addition to catering outlets, retailers with late opening hours need to check if they need a licence from 1 October.

Businesses trading between 11pm and 5am which have an alcohol licence for their premises do not require a late hours catering licence as well.

The Highland Council does not anticipate that there will be a huge number of premises affected as a lot of convenience stores and shops will either currently close before 11pm or will already be licensed such as 24 hour supermarkets and garages that currently sell `meals or refreshments'. The Council does however appreciate that there will be some businesses that will fall within the licensing scheme from 1 October and urge them apply for a new licence as soon as possible.

Further information is available from The Highland Council's website at or by contacting local Licensing Offices - details of which can also be found on the Council's website at:


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