ADZs abolished in licensing shake-up

10 December, 2010

The Home Office is planning to abolish New Labour’s controversial alcohol disorder zones and has confirmed plans to introduce a late-night levy on businesses in alcohol-related trouble spots.

The moves are part of its response to consultation on “rebalancing the Licensing Act” launched in July.

It has also pledged to review the mandatory code introduced in the final weeks of Gordon Brown’s administration after 12 months. The code introduced a requirement for off-licence premises to have a policy on under-age sales as well as imposing restrictions on on-trade promotions.

ADZs were introduced in 2008 as a last resort for local authorities to encourage collective responsibility among businesses and other stakeholders in tackling alcohol-related disorder, but were largely shunned by councils because of the potential costs associated with running them.

The ADZ model included putting some of the cost burden for extra policing on pubs and off-licences – which will now be done by a statutory late-night levy being introduced by the current government as part of its Police Reform & Social Responsibility Bill, published last week.

The bill includes measures to give communities and local authorities new powers to restrict premises from late selling of alcohol and to clamp down harder on premises persistently selling to children, with the maximum fine doubling to £20,000.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said the bill represented a “positive response” to concerns raised by the organisation.

“We remain concerned about the implications of the proposed late-night levy, not least that it may be seen by some local authorities as a way of simply raising revenue,” he added. “It is vital it is applied only to premises where there is clear evidence of a problem and does not impact responsible businesses which happen to be in the vicinity.

“We hope the government will encourage police and local authorities to adopt a common sense and partnership approach when using their substantial powers to tackle problem drinking and licensing issues.”?????

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