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Ban on drinking in the street: Entire towns and cities to become public alcohol-free zones



By James Slack

Last updated at 9:38 AM on 01st October 2009




Drinking in streets and parks will be banned in a fightback against 'Binge Britain'.

Town halls are drafting new laws to introduce the first blanket bans on public drinking applying to entire towns.

The move comes after Labour finally admitted that the 24-hour drinking it introduced - which the Mail campaigned against - was 'not working'.


article-1217132-0356B0DC0000044D-296_468x286.jpg Town halls will be given new powers to strip late-opening pubs of their licences



Nottingham intends to be the first city to implement the ban. It is taking advantage of new legislation which, for the first time, will allow bylaws to be passed without needing approval by a Cabinet minister.

Nottingham said other town halls were also keen to introduce blanket bans - potentially outlawing street drinking across huge swathes of the country.

Council leader Jon Collins said: 'People understand clear messages. There's no confusion in alcohol-free zones. I do not think it's a civil liberties issue. It's about saying we do not want people drinking in the street.'

One of the targets of the Nottingham blitz will be youths staggering through the streets late at night brandishing bottles and glasses taken from pubs and bars.

The bottles are often used as weapons in street fights. A ban on street drinking would make it easier for them to be confiscated.


Richard Antcliff, Nottingham's chief antisocial behaviour officer, said the council wanted to target 'loutish behaviour' and street drinkers who intimidate law-abiding members of the public.

The Tories backed Nottingham and said it was 'absolutely right' they should get tough on binge drinking on the streets.


Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'We've also got to deal with the huge flaws in our licensing system and in particular with the proliferation of late night offlicences which are adding to the very real problem of drink and anti-social behaviour.'

The Nottingham action marks the start of a concerted fightback against the misery inflicted by Labour's liberalisation of drinking laws in 2005.

On Tuesday, Gordon Brown admitted that 24-hour drinking was 'not working' in some parts of the country.


article-1217132-0356C0320000044D-498_468x286.jpg One for the road: Increased binge-drinking among women has been blamed for a rise in women sentenced for violent crime


He promised a new law to give councils the power to impose blanket bans on round-the-clock opening in town centres and streets blighted by violence and mayhem.

Town halls will also be given new powers to strip late-opening pubs of their licences, removing the requirement they must have first received a complaint from residents or the police.

However, Nottingham and other councils are pinning their hopes on the existing Local Government and Public Involvement and Health Act to end the scourge of street drinking. The legislation, likely to come into force next year, was passed with little fanfare in 2007.

The intention was to devolve more powers to local councils, including the right to create their own byelaws. Town Hall bosses in Nottingham have worked out that one possibility is to pass a byelaw which will ban street drinking throughout the entire city.








Currently, street drinking can be restricted only by Designated Public Place Orders, introduced by the Home Office in 2001. These are confined to very specific areas, where there must be a history of anti-social behaviour.

Now, working in tandem with the new law promised by Mr Brown, councils will be able to ban all street drinking using a byelaw while at the same time barring late opening by rowdy pubs and bars.

Effectively, Labour's Licensing Act - which critics warned would lead to mayhem on the streets - is being dismantled.

However, there are concerns that some councils may be too heavy-handed in the way they introduce new byelaws, possibly putting an end to picnics in the park.

Dylan Sharpe of Big Brother Watch said: 'This is yet another piece of legislation with the potential to create criminals out of law-abiding people.'

The number of women sentenced by the courts for serious crimes such as violence has rocketed by almost 10 per cent, adding to a mounting pile of evidence that Britain is in the grip of a 'ladette crimewave'. Experts have blamed increased binge-drinking by women.

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