Wakefield Council has introduced a scheme urging shops to stop selling beer and cider at 6.5% abv or above.

The “Reducing the Strength” scheme was created in Ipswich and the Suffolk authority was then approached by the Home Office in June to discuss how the project could be rolled out across the country. 

Wakefield has now become the first authority to adopt the scheme.

The area’s director of public health, Dr Andrew Furber, said: “The harm associated with excessive alcohol consumption increases cheap, super strength beer, lager and cider are readily available, recognised by a number of drinks companies who no longer produce such products.

“Local initiatives that restrict the availability of cheap super strength alcohol further contribute to a reduction in the harm associated with cheap super strength alcohol.

“There is an increasing recognition of the role that local businesses play in improving public health, by shaping an environment that supports people to make healthier choices. In recognition of this the council has engaged local retailers in supporting a local ‘Reducing the Strength’ initiative.”

The pilot initiative will be introduced in two wards, Normanton and Airedale & Ferry Fryston, as these wards have some of the highest levels of harmful and hazardous drinking, and anti-social behaviour.

The authority said it will work with retailers and West Yorkshire Police on the scheme for the next year and then review it. 

In Cambridge the Labour Party tried to introduce the scheme but said it was voted down by the Liberal Democrats.