Speaking at the Guild of Master Victuallers’ annual conference in Gravesend, Kent, last week, Tom Henry, partner at legal firm Weightmans, said he understood publicans’ concerns about EMROs, but suggested that “the public order issue” may push a number of local authorities towards implementing them.
EMROs, which will restrict the sale of alcohol in certain areas between midnight and 6am, are set to be introduced alongside the controversial late-night levy in October as part of the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act.
A survey last year by legal firm Poppleston Allen found that fewer than 5% of authorities said they were likely to implement EMROs, although more than half had not yet considered them at all.
“So far as the EMROs are concerned, the current survey of local authorities suggests they are even more unpopular than the late-night levy,” said Henry.
He added: “I have got a reservation about that and my reservation is this. Local authorities say they are not happy with EMROs. Their view is they don’t want to upset the night-time economy. It is important for local business people.
“If people can’t drink after midnight, then we are not going to be able to attract tourists.
“But they still haven’t addressed the public order issue and I think if the police get their teeth into this one, you may well see the attitude of local authorities change on restriction orders as time goes on.”
Henry concluded: “I think there is a good chance that they may well be introduced in certain areas, particularly if there is pressure applied from the police. So watch out for that one.”