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DCAN 4: Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Outlets
Appendix 3: Other Relevant Legislation

  1. In addition to the planning control exercised by the Department in respect of restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets, there is extensive regulatory control of premises on which food is prepared, particularly in respect of the quality of the food sold and food hygiene. The Food Safety (NI) Order 1991 Opens link in a new browser window allows local councils to appoint authorised Environmental Health Officers. This legislation makes it an offence to sell food which does not comply with food safety requirements, and which is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by a purchaser. In circumstances where the health risk condition is fulfilled, an authorised officer may serve an emergency prohibition notice on the proprietor of a food business. This has the effect of closing down premises or a process. Environmental Health Officers are concerned about such matters as water supply, toilet and washing arrangements for staff, provision of facilities for washing food and equipment, discharge of cooking fumes and the provision of sludge boxes and grease traps in order to protect the sewerage system. In all these matters the primary concern of the Environmental Health Officer is with the cleanliness of the premises. The Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations (NI) 1995 Opens link in a new browser window set minimum structural and operational standards for persons carrying on food businesses.
  2. The Pollution Control and Local Government (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 confers powers on local councils in relation to such matters as litter, disposal of waste, noise and atmospheric pollution. However, external ducting to deal with expelled cooking smells can only be required under planning powers. It is important to stress that the powers of the local council are reactive; preventative measures are only possible through the development control process by the imposition of conditions or by the refusal of planning permission. The Litter (Northern Ireland) Order 1994 Opens link in a new browser window also empowers local councils to issue street litter control notices.
  3. Under the Licensing (NI) Order 199 Opens link in a new browser window6, a licence is required for the serving of alcohol in places of public entertainment and in restaurants. The hours during which alcohol may be served are controlled by the same Order.
  4. Under Article 5 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1985, local councils may serve a closing order to limit late night trading by premises selling food for consumption on or off the premises subject to certain exceptions) if neighbouring residents complain of being disturbed by:
    • persons resorting to the premises; or
    • by the use of the premises However, there are exemptions and closing orders cannot take effect before midnight nor cease later than 5:00 a.m.
  5. Under Article 3 and Schedule 1 to Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1985, places of public entertainment require a licence from the council for the district in which the place is situated. Entertainment licence conditions can be used to control noise arising from entertainment so that persons in the neighbourhood are not unreasonably disturbed. If a music and dancing licence is already in force, a restaurant licence may be extended by the grant of a special hours certificate under the Licensing Act 1964.
  6. Planning controls in respect of the storage of hazardous substances complement but do not override the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 and its relevant statutory provisions (defined at Article 63 of the 1991 Order) which are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive Inspectorate of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
  7. Whilst those provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Opens link in a new browser window which require physical alteration of premises do not become law until October 2004, other sections of the law are already in place.
  8. Approval may be required to ensure that the proposed works comply with the Building Regulations 2000. Opens link in a new browser window
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