ADZ regulations scrape through

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcohol disorder zones House of lords Government

ADZ regulations scrape through
Government narrowly avoids defeat on its controversial Alcohol Disorder Zones plan

The Government has narrowly avoided having its controversial plans for Alcohol Disorder Zones (ADZs) derailed.

Despite opposition from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, a committee of MPs approved the draft ADZ regulations by eight votes to six last night.

But ADZs were slated during the session.

Tory Shadow Home Affairs Minister James Brokenshire labelled them "a policy disaster zone"​ and urged the Government to scrap ADZs all together.

"ADZs are unwieldy, unworkable and unwanted,"​ he said.

"Even at this late stage it's not too late for the Government to perform another u-turn and confine this to the bin."

Opposition MPs reflected the views of Government reports that pointed to lack of clarity in the regulations that will make them too costly and open to legal challenges.

Brokenshire highlighted the lack of cut-off point for ADZs, lack of appeal process, and ambiguity about which venues would pay levies in a zone.

ADZs are not only superfluous but they will be counter-productive. We must all insist that they are never used​Nick BishALMR

On the question of supermarkets, Brokenshire said: "He [Home Office minister Vernon Coaker] started off saying, 'yes, they will fall in the regulations', then said, 'not necessarily'.

"I think that underlines the real uncertainties contained in these regulations as to who is caught and who isn't caught."

Lib Dem culture spokesman Don Foster said: "There are so many flaws in [the regulations] that we can't possibly support them."

Foster called for existing regulations to be enforced more rigorously instead of introducing ADZs.


He also pointed to voluntary schemes - such as Challenge 21 and Manchester City Safe - that have helped address alcohol-related problems.

In response, Coaker said he was open to tinkering with ADZs.

"I will be flexible on this,"​ he said. "The guidance will be done following scrutiny. If necessary, I will amend the order."

The regulations will be put before the House of Commons later this week and are expected to be approved.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Rob Hayward said: "It's unfortunate that ultimately it will be passed.

"This is against both main opposition parties - clearly indicating that this is a bad set of regulations."

Desperation politics

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Nick Bish blasted ADZs as "desperation politics"​.

He said: "Against all logic and the persuasive arguments of the police, local authorities, the House of Lords and of course the trade itself the Government persists in pushing the ADZs to completion. This is desperation politics.

"We can only hope that once the process is complete the ADZs are put into a legislation cupboard, locked and the key thrown away.

"There is a raft of other enforcement measures of which the dispersal zones and the ban on public consumption of alcohol are both sensible and effective.

"ADZs are not only superfluous but they will be counter-productive. We must all insist that they are never used."

Related topics Legislation

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