A proposal for the zones (ADZ), which would enable local authorities to charge drinks sellers for extra policing in ‘hotspot’ areas, has been redrafted at least twice in the last six months in an attempt to placate sceptics.
But a House of Lords committee said on Thursday the system remained “unduly bureaucratic”.
It questioned the need for new legislation, concluding the proposal was “without a clear explanation of how ADZs offer benefits additional to the other methods for combating alcohol-fuelled disorder that are already available to the local authorities”.
ADZs, which are already three years in the making, are due to be discussed by MPs in Parliament next Monday (12th).
Current draft proposals describe ADZs as a “temporary measure of last resort”. Zones would only be enforced following a consultation period and would then be subject to a review every three months. There is no set expiry date or maximum charge.
Up to 30 local authorities are likely to begin implementing the zones, but only six are expected to charge businesses, according to Home Office estimates.
Strong opposition to the scheme has already been voiced by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and also the Local Government Authority (LGA).
A letter from the LGA in December said councils has “serious misgivings” about the scheme. “While ADZs may seem like an attractive option for local authorities to use, in practice, ADZs will prove to be a costly, complicated and an unwieldy tool for local authorities.”