Move to ban high strength alcohol from Doncaster town centre shops

A move to ban high strength booze is under way in Doncaster.
A move to ban high strength booze is under way in Doncaster.
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High strength alcohol is set to be banned from sale in Doncaster town centre as part of a drive to cut down on problems caused by booze.

The Reduce the Strength campaign is a new ongoing initiative being launched by Doncaster Council during Alcohol Awareness Week which runs until November 19.

The scheme, initially being introduced in the town centre, aims to stop cheap, high strength alcohol above 6.5% alcohol by volume being sold. It has been introduced to address alcohol-related health concerns, with over 350 Doncaster residents dying from alcoholic liver disease between 2010 and 2015.

Town centre shop owners voluntarily taking part agree not to sell beer, lager and cider above 6.5% abv and in return receive a ‘Reduce the Strength’ window sticker and certificate to show their support for the initiative.

Exceptions are made for premium products such as craft beers and lagers which have become more popular in recent years.

Dr Anurag Agrawal, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, said: “Between 2001 and 2012 the number of people who died with an underlying cause of liver disease in England rose by 40% and is in contrast to other major causes of disease which have been declining. Liver disease is largely preventable and in most cases is due to three main risk factors; alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis.”

Councillor Nigel Ball, Doncaster Cabinet Member for Public Health says; “By introducing this scheme the council aims to address not just the health impact and pressures on local health services that alcohol abuse can bring, but also to reduce street drinking in Doncaster.”

“Before launching ‘Reduce the Strength’, we consulted with local shop keepers and were pleased with the levels of support shown for the scheme. I can only see support for this growing further over time.”

‘Reduce the Strength’ has been developed by the Doncaster Council public health team with the support of the licensing department and South Yorkshire Police. To date 32 off-licences and local shops have joined the Doncaster Reduce the Strength scheme.

Local shop keeper, Raivis Smats said “I can really see the benefits that this scheme will bring to Doncaster.”

"I used to sell stronger strength alcohol in my shop but having heard more about the health effects I want to do my bit to help keep the local community safe.”