To suit the Action to the Word, the Word to the Action

ReportAt the City of Edinburgh Council’s meeting of the Regulatory Committee, convened by Councillor Rob Munn, a deputation representing the views of those concerned about the Public Entertainment Licence changes was invited to speak for 10 minutes, before being asked questions by committee members. Also present were officers from licensing departments, whom the committee members consulted about the issue.

The deputation consisted of Neil Cooper, arts journalist, and Morvern Cunningham, arts promoter and organiser. Mr Cooper spoke eloquently, with wit and knowledge, about the history of arts in Edinburgh and the way in which grassroots endeavours feed major artistic success stories. He also pointed out the incredibly difficult task of defining ‘entertainment’ within artistic perimeters, and did so with appreciated humour. You can read the full address here, in the post ‘Address to Edinburgh Regulatory Committee and Campaign Statement‘.

Both Mr Cooper and Ms Cunningham, along with the licensing officers, then answered questions from committee members. These queries included what events are already being affected by the changes in legislation, whether an exemption mentioning ‘200 capacity’ would be sufficient to allay concerns, what precisely is meant by ‘premises’ for official wording, and the very telling question of what the actual intention of the changes to the legislation is!

Also of note was the suggestion that, rather than focus on exempting certain events – the arduous and, in practice, unending task of creating a comprehensive list – it would make more sense to state which free events ARE to be covered by the changed legislation. This would, however, necessitate (legally) a full scale consultation and re-drafting of the relevant Resolution which would require at least 9 months. The focus currently is on what can be done in the short-term to minimise the impact of these changes on events which should not be their target.

As a result, the shorter consultation period of 28 days was decided upon, with an interim period of free licensing in effect from 1st April to at least 20th April, the time of the next meeting of the Regulatory Committee. At that point, with the relevant report to hand, the Committee plans to announce which events have been removed from the Resolution and will therefore no longer require licensing.

It was made clear that no-one present – those who spoke up and, by final agreement, all committee members – wished the PEL changes to impact on arts and community events. The focus of the licensing departments will be on large-scale events which pose some risk to public safety and those which may be using the ‘free’ category to obscure high business interests.

The motion put to the Committee and passed at this meeting is detailed – along with the results – here:


Comments on: "Edinburgh Regulatory Committee Meeting of 9th March – report and result" (4)

  1. […] page linked above, and further information on the meeting is here, in the Discover Fine Acting Report and Result […]


  2. I was wondering what impact this would have say on some of the free fringe events that happen in small venues. The kind of gigs that allow new people to have a go at the fringe experience. It also allows audiences to see new material without paying a fiver or more (mainly more) to see a new act.

    It would be a shame to see this bit of the fringe priced out of existence when to my mind it is possibly one of the only parts that upholds the original agenda of the fringe festival.


    • Thank you for commenting, David, and yes, as you say, these free fringe events are essential to keeping the true spirit of the Fringe alive.

      My understanding is that these venues have always required a licence and so there will be no change there. Such premises, when applying to be Fringe venues, are licensed for that period – normally a Theatre Licence, I believe, and this precludes any need for a Public Entertainment Licence (from what I have heard so far).

      Anyone who has licence queries is being urged to contact the licensing department and ask for assistance. Also, there is to be a period of public consultation (lasting 28 days) prior to the next City of Edinburgh Council Regulatory Committee meeting on 20th April.

      Please look out for this (newspapers, etc.) or contact the Council directly ( to take part in this consultation and make your concerns and wishes known. You can read a little more about this here:

      I hope that helps, David!


  3. […] what is going on. Further related posts on this blog (including the Edinburgh Public Meeting and delegation to the Edinburgh Council) can be found in the ‘Public Entertainment Licence Fiasco’ category. Share […]


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