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The recent suggestion that Edinburgh should follow rival Glasgow's footsteps in banning glasses and bottles from pubs and bars is yet another example...

The recent suggestion that Edinburgh should follow rival Glasgow's footsteps in banning glasses and bottles from pubs and bars is yet another example of the over-reaction and Government interference that is brought about by the actions of a minority.

We have seen it happen time and again in our industry. On the whole the people that work in the hospitality business operate professionally and within the law, yet we see constant intervention and blame laid at our door.

As an industry we are in full support of policies designed to target and tackle the violent thugs who use glass vessels as weapons. Equally, we want to work with licensing boards to examine what further actions we can take in contributing fully to the active management and reduction of risk in this area. We recognise that this issue is a very serious one.

However, as pointed out by Patrick Browne, chief executive officer at the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, the industry opposes a ban on glass as it cannot be justified in terms of cost or risk and is a disproportionate response.

Browne recently wrote to the Edinburgh Evening News and, for the benefit of Morning Advertiser readers in England and Wales, I quote from his article: "While the problem of 'glassing' incidents is a serious one, figures suggest there are fewer than 1.5 'glassing' incidents a week in Edinburgh which, given the tens of thousands of people who use the city every weekend, represents a minimal risk.

"Edinburgh has been at the forefront of promoting 'green' policies, encouraging recycling and trying to minimise the impact of waste on the environment, but the environment would be one of the biggest losers from the forced blanket introduction of plastic bottles and glasses. The fact is that plastic bottles are non-biodegradable and cause significant levels of pollution in their disposal. By choosing to produce plastic bottles rather than glass, toxic emissions are increased by a factor of 100. This year, more than 1.2m glass bottles will be used in Scotland's pubs and clubs. Forcing producers to bottle drinks in plastic would need the replacement of existing bottling lines with new equipment.

"The licensed trade itself is more than willing to work with the authorities to tackle potential problems by improving management, more effective door policies, more regular glass collection and the use of toughened glass where appropriate.

"Does Edinburgh and the hospitality sector really want to send out a message to the millions of people who visit pubs and bars every year from around the world, that we operate such dangerous businesses that the Government has to ban the use of glass across its hospitality industry?"

As Edinburgh licensing convenor Phil Attridge also put it: "Can you imagine a pint of Deuchars out of a plastic glass - this sounds like an over-reaction". I'll raise my pint to that!

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