ADZs slammed by Lords committee

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcohol disorder zones Business improvement districts Local government

A House of Lords committee has slammed the regulations covering alcohol disorder zones (ADZs), branding the unpopular measures as "bureaucratic" and...

A House of Lords committee has slammed the regulations covering alcohol disorder zones (ADZs), branding the unpopular measures as "bureaucratic" and questioning whether they are necessary.

The Select Committee on Merits of Statutory Instruments' damning report published yesterday asks how many councils would adopt an ADZ, given the "complexity of the policy".

The report attacks the statistics used to justify the measures, stating that "more detailed figures show a rather more complex story".

Much of what is in the report echoes the trade's fears about ADZs and will give hope of a government rethink on the measures.

The report questions why ADZs are required instead of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). "We were not clear why this policy was required in addition to voluntary measures such as Business Improvement Districts, or enforcement action such as suspending the licences of delinquent bars, or charging delinquent individuals under existing legislation," the report states.

And the report, which will be seen by Lords before being debated in both Houses, brands the ADZs charging system as "arcane".

It states: "As well as offering significant scope for discounts and exemptions, the basic method of calculation is highly variable."


Concern is also raised about the "transparency" and "practicality" of the system, which could lead to premises contesting the charge.

This could result in a "significant diversion of local authority resources from addressing the alcohol disorder problem," it states.

In the previous draft of the regulations pubs that were members of the Best Bar None scheme were being offered 100 per cent discounts, but in the latest regulations this was changed to a 90 per cent discount for any premises that is part of an accreditation or award scheme.

In its summary the committee states: "We found the Explanatory Memorandum unclear. Much of the practical detail is in the draft guidance which was not published with the instrument, which we regard as poor practice.

"The Committee was left with an impression of a rather bureaucratic system and without a clear idea of how ADZs fit in with the other items in the local authorities' toolkit for combating alcohol-fuelled disorder."

It also asks for Lords to consider the "temporary nature" of ADZs. "There is no measure to set a finite time-limit to this additional, if carefully ring-fenced, source of income to the local authorities", the report states.

The British Beer & Pub Association, which wrote to MPs asking them to support their concerns about ADZs, welcomed the report.

Mark Hastings, director of communications, said: "This report is further evidence that this ill-thought out proposal should be dropped at the earliest opportunity. It also shows that these measures are based on spin rather than substance."

Related topics Legislation

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