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Funfair Licensing

– in the Scottish Parliament on 20th June 2013.

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Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

5. I refer members to my entry in the register of interests, as I am the chair of the cross-party group on the Scottish Showmen’s Guild.

To ask the Scottish Government what action it can take regarding restrictions imposed on funfair licences by local authorities. (S4O-02286)

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

Licensing is a local matter. It is for local licensing authorities to look at the facts of individual applications and make decisions in light of local priorities and circumstances. The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 makes it clear that any conditions attached to a licence shall be reasonable.

Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

West Lothian Council is currently imposing conditions on funfair licences that are not covered by any act of law—namely, the erection of fencing around the entire funfair—and which make the fair uneconomic. The council is therefore causing the cancellation of several funfairs at local gala days in its area. What can the Parliament do to encourage councils not to impose unrealistic conditions and allow their constituents to enjoy all the fun of the fair?

Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party

It is right that local licensing authorities should protect their communities by ensuring that funfairs are operated safely and cause minimal nuisance. It is correct that such matters should be set and dealt with locally, but the approach should be proportionate and there should not be measures that are perhaps unnecessary.

It might be best for the member to speak initially to the clerk of the relevant council committee and perhaps the local divisional commander because, from the briefing that I have, it appears that there might be room for discussion on what is necessary. Ultimately, such matters should be dealt with locally, although there should be an element of proportionality and, indeed, common sense.