Off-licences support voluntary ban on strong larger, beer and cider.
SUPER-strength booze could soon become a thing of the past in Torridge following the launch of a new council-led initiative.
Licensees throughout the district have pledged their support for the voluntary scheme to ban the sale of beer, cider and lager with an alcohol content of more than 6.5 per cent.
It is hoped that the ban, due to come into effect on June 1, will reduce street drinking and promote a healthier lifestyle.
Torridge District Council, which is launching the scheme in conjunction with police, Safer North Devon and Public Health Devon, said street drinking was a ‘persistent problem’ in Bideford.
Councillor Roger Tisdale, chairman of the council’s licensing committee said: “I am very excited by this scheme which is a first for Torridge.
“Street drinking portrays a negative image of our area both to residents and visitors and is something we are determined to tackle.
“This initiative forms part of our wider strategy to tackle alcohol-related harm across the District.”
In Ipswich, the first UK town to introduce a similar ban, street drinking and disorder reduced by 49 per cent. It is believed that this is the first time such a scheme has been rolled across an entire local authority area.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Torridge is blazing the trail for the rest of Devon in adopting a common sense and very laudable approach to tackling some of causes of problem and anti-social drinking.”
To date, 26 off-licences in the district have agreed to remove high-strength alcohol from their shelves.
Tony Nicholls, the council’s licensing manager, said: “I am delighted with the response we have had from off-licences across the district.
“Virtually all of them have offered their support for this project from the outset and have taken a morally responsible decision to stop selling these harmful products.
“I applaud those stores participating in the scheme as, by doing so, they are helping to make Torridge a safer and healthier place.”
Sergeant Mark Harper said: “This is a fantastic scheme which will help reduce alcohol related crime and disorder across Torridge. The excellent support of the licensed trade is commendable and will ensure high end alcohol products are kept out of the hands of those that so often abuse them.”
The success of scheme will be reviewed after 12 months.