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Alcohol disorder zones opposed

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A government initiative against drunken disorder will prove costly and pointless, council regulators have warned.

Alcohol disorder zones (ADZs) were approved by Parliament last week. They allow councils to designate areas in which they can charge licensees for costs incurred in dealing with disorderly behaviour.

But the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (Lacors) said it had “serious misgivings” about the zones.

A spokesman said: “While ADZs may seem like an attractive option for local authorities to use, in practice they will prove to be a costly, complicated and unwieldy tool.”

He said councils felt they already had powers to deal with alcohol-related disorder. ADZs can only be designated after a month of consultation and two months of preparation by councils, who cannot then recover the associated costs.

Councils would be responsible for collecting zone charges, but Lacors said it was unclear if they would be expected to reimburse other agencies, such as the police and Health & Safety Executive, even when licensees had refused to pay. The zones do not apply to supermarkets or shops.

The British Beer & Pub Association said this was “neither logical nor equitable”.

The Lacors spokesman said: “The amount of premises that are exempted or partially exempted from ADZ charges also means that the true cost will never be recovered.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “ADZs are an enabling mechanism. It is for local authorities to decide if they wish to use them they are under no compulsion to do so.”

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