Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 section 142: guidance for licensing boards and local authorities

Guidance on section 142 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 for licensing boards and local authorities.

9. Exempt Premises

International airports and International ports

231. Under the 2005 Act, Scottish Ministers may designate as exempt premises a port, hoverport or airport, if it appears to them that there is a substantial amount of international traffic, removing the need for premises to obtain a licence for the sale or supply of alcohol at such designated locations. Details of the ports, hoverports and airports so designated may be viewed on the Scottish Executive website. No ports or hoverports are presently so designated.

232. Regulations to be made under the Act will propose that the following airports should be designated exempt premises:

  • Aberdeen Airport
  • Edinburgh Airport
  • Glasgow Airport
  • Glasgow Prestwick Airport
  • Inverness Airport
  • Sumburgh Airport

233. Where an airport or port has been designated by Scottish Ministers, the areas at the airport or port which are "airside" or "wharfside" are included in the exemption in the 2005 Act from the licensing regime. These are areas to which the non-travelling public do not have access and are subject to stringent by-laws. The exemption is to enable the provision of refreshment of travellers at any time. Other parts of designated ports, hoverports and airports e.g. "landside" pubs which may be accessed by those not travelling are subject to the normal licensing controls.

Trains and aircraft

234. Under the 2005 Act, railway vehicles and aircraft engaged on journeys are exempted from the licensing regime. However, licensing boards should note that some decommissioned aircraft and railway carriages are used as restaurants and bars, remaining in a fixed position. Licensing Boards may consider applications made in respect of such premises and they are subject to the provisions of the 2005 Act. It should also be noted that under the 2005 Act, the sale of alcohol to a child or young person anywhere in Scotland has been made a criminal offence. Until the 2005 Act came into force, such sales were only offences if they took place on licensed premises. This is no longer the case. The sale of alcohol aboard a train or aircraft to a child or young person is now a criminal offence.


235. The 2005 Act applies in relation to a vessel (which includes a ship or a boat) which is not permanently moored or berthed as if it were premises situated in a place where it is usually moored or berthed. The relevant Licensing Board for considering an application for a premises licence in respect of a vessel is therefore the Licensing Board for the area in which it is usually moored or berthed. There are two exceptions, described below.

Vessels on an international journey

236. A vessel while engaged on an international journey does not require to obtain a premises licence to sell or supply alcohol aboard. An "international journey" means a journey from a place in the United Kingdom to an immediate destination outside the United Kingdom or a journey from outside the United Kingdom to an immediate destination in the United Kingdom. A vessel that is permanently moored or berthed is a premises situated at that place.

Vessels operating as ferries

237. A vessel while engaged on a journey forming part of a ferry service does not require to obtain a premises licence to sell or supply alcohol aboard. A ferry service does not include vessels which provide a purely social service such as a pleasure cruise. Those vessels must be licensed.

Power to ban the sale of alcohol on certain trains or ferries

238. On the application of a police officer of the rank of superintendent or above the 2005 Act empowers a sheriff to make an order to prohibit the sale of alcohol on specified vessels which are part of a ferry service. This can be used to prevent the sale of alcohol on either a particular journey or a particular route.

239. A similar order may also be obtained by the Police from a Sheriff in respect of trains, prohibiting the sale of alcohol on any railway vehicle at such railway stations as may be specified or travelling between such stations as may be specified. Selling or attempting to sell alcohol in breach of such an order or allowing such sales to take place are offences under the Act.


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