Gwent police push for plastic

By Tony Halstead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nightclub, Polycarbonate, Glass

Gwent police push for plastic
Police in Gwent, South Wales, have become the latest force to urge pubs and clubs to switch to plastic. Gwent licensing officer PC Jim Aitken urged...

Police in Gwent, South Wales, have become the latest force to urge pubs and clubs to switch to plastic.

Gwent licensing officer PC Jim Aitken urged pubs and clubs to put safety of drinkers first.

"The nature of a public house means that you don't know who is going to come through the door next.

The nature of a public house means that you don't know who is going to come through the door next​Gwent licensing officer PC Jim Aitken.

"Where there are lots of people and lots of alcohol there is always a risk, and the safety of customers is paramount,"​ he said.

Police called on venues to follow the lead of 20 premises which have made the change.

Meanwhile, Luminar boss Steve Thomas has revealed that all his sites will switch to polycarbonate in the next 12 months.

But fellow nightclub boss Paul Kinsey, of Nexum Leisure, suggested the move is excessive because late-night venues see only a small number of glassing incidents.

Kinsey revealed that only 20% of Nexum's 19 venues currently used plastic glasses and only one site had a blanket plastic policy.

He said plastic would only be introduced in premises where it was felt there was a need for it.

"We want more information about these glassings: are they carried out by people using bottles or drinking glasses, and are they confined to a certain type of venue and a particular kind of customer?"​ he asked.

Mark Jones, boss of Newcastle-based Ultimate Leisure, said the company was to embark on a polycarbonate trial at its Halo nightclub in Leeds.

"There is no need to go fully polycarbonate yet. We are undertaking a considered test of how polycarbonates, which have seen an improvement in quality, stand up to things such as the glasswasher,"​ he said.

A Commons Early Day Motion (EDM) opposing the blanket introduction of plastic glasses, drafted by MP John Grogan with the help of the MA, was launched at Westminster last week.

Seven MPs signed up for the EDM in the first working day following its launch.

THOMAS: lack of unity cost us

A collective trade approach to the Government might have prevented the current confusion about the use of plastic glasses in pubs and clubs, according to Steve Thomas, boss of the country's biggest nightclub operator, Luminar.

The chief executive believes the trade has failed to dictate its own terms on the

polycarbonate issue and played into the hands of the police.

Thomas said there is a case for high-capacity clubs and high-street venues adopting plastic containers and bottles.

"Who could argue against these glasses being used in high-density venues where incidents can and do happen?" he asked. "I am not talking about every licensed premises - and clearly country pubs and food-led venues do not come into the same category."

Luminar has confirmed it is pushing ahead with a total switch to polycarbonate in all its 120 venues within the next 12 months.

"We have been trialling polycarbonate for the past six months and we are more than happy with the quality.

"They are poles apart from the old fashioned plastic containers which were around in the old days," he said.

Thomas believes the trade has been left behind on the polycarbonate issue.

"If we had moved sooner and spoken as an industry we could have dictated what happened instead of having people dictate to us," he said..

Bramley: no to blanket plastic

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has revealed it is trialling polycarbonates at about a dozen "high-energy" venues in high-street locations.

But Mike Bramley, boss of the company's pubs and bars division, has insisted that a blanket introduction of plastic glasses would impede the "civilising process" happening in pubs as they sell more food, wine and soft drinks.

"A lot more people are using pubs: this broader consumer base would be undermined if customers are forced to drink out of plastic,"​ Bramley said. "We are opposed to a blanket ban but supportive of a targeted approach."

Bramley pointed out that replacing glassware with plastic would produce an enormous increase in unrecyclable plastic - 15 million pints a day are poured into glassware.

To find out about the Morning Advertiser's petition against blanket glass bans visit www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/glassbanOr, to sign our petition visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/plasticglass/

Related topics: Licensing law

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