Campaign against blanket bans gains momentum as more than 1,500 sign petition against police moves to promote polycarbonate
The Morning Advertiser's campaign against blanket glass-bans in pubs is entering a new phase with a fresh drive to get MPs involved.
MPs are being invited to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM), drafted with help from the Morning Advertiser, opposing attempts by police across the country to force pubs to replace glasses with polycarbonate containers.
The EDM, launched today, stresses the impact that
blanket glass bans will have on the pub trade and highlights how it will mar the drinking experience.
MP John Grogan, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: "We are calling for a sensible approach rather than a blanket ban. The MPs I have spoken to are astonished that glasses could be banned in well-managed licensed premises.
"Banning glass is the wrong way to attract a wide and diverse set of customers."
Grogan added that police would also now be invited to attend a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group before the summer recess to discuss the issue.
The tabling of the EDM comes after Chris Allison, the Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo) licensing spokesman, stressed his support for polycarbonates during a meeting last week with senior trade figures called by the Bar Entertainment & Dance Association (BEDA).
JD Wetherspoon (JDW) operations director Nathan Wall, who attended the BEDA meeting, alongside Chief Inspector Adrian Studd of Acpo's clubs and vice unit, said: "The meeting was constructive, with a frank exchange of views. There's a philosophical difference between us and the police.
"Police are of the view that one glass injury is one too many, but ultimately
we have to consider that [by banning glass] we are punishing the vast majority of people.
"Chris Allison's view was that if customers are presented with polycarbonates, they will be happy with them. Everything we've seen suggests that the general public hates that idea.
"Unless we are able to produce concrete evidence around that area, it's going to be difficult."
Allison said: "It was an open and constructive meeting and these discussions are ongoing."
Pressure to ban glass increased in northern England this week, with news that some licensing authorities in the region are backing an anti-glass campaign run by Newcastle-based newspaper the Sunday Sun.
The MA's on-line petition to Prime Minister Tony Blair opposing blanket glass bans continues to gather pace, with more than 1,500 people now signed up. Visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/plasticglass/ to add your name.
Trade leader Tony Payne doubts nhs estimate of glassing costs
Trade leader Tony Payne has expressed doubts at the claim that a typical glassing incident costs the NHS
The claim was made to mark the start of an alcohol-awareness campaign being conducted across four counties in southern England, including Hampshire, where pubs are being told to switch to polycarbonate or face a licence review.
Campaign organisers said that a glassing incident involves 40 NHS staff and costs about £184,000, "before the costs of a police criminal investigation are considered".
Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations chief executive Payne said: "We had the same thing with smoking; all of these figures get unveiled. [But] anyone can say these things and the problem lies in disproving them."
The alcohol-awareness campaign will also run across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight. It will include posters and adverts which will be displayed on buses to highlight the negative effects of excessive drinking.