Plans to ban alcohol in public places in York

All streets in the city could be covered by the order. ©Hannah Allies

Drinking outside in public areas in York is set to be banned in the spring with the introduction of an Alcohol Exclusion Zone across the whole of the city.

The move, which would almost certainly stop the ability to take your drink with you if you go outside a pub or club to smoke, was discussed yesterday by police, fire-fighters, council officials and probation service staff and will go to a public consultation before being launched in the next few months. It is seen as a possible alternative to detoxifying your system for good and may help reduce alcoholism in the greater urban area.

York currently has twenty separate alcohol exclusion zones, such as in Union Terrace car park and Walmgate as well as outlying villages such as Strensall and Copmanthorpe, although concerns were raised that this simply moved anti-social behaviour into other areas of the city.

The expansion of the zone to cover the whole city will make it an offence to consume alcohol in public, and require individuals to hand over alcohol in their possession to a Police Officer if requested. Failure to comply could result in arrest or a fine of up to £500.

The Yorker understands that the four options being considered are retaining the current zones, expanding the project to include all streets inside the city walls, expanding to include everything inside the inner ring road or expanding to include all areas of the York city boundaries.

Jane Mowatt, Head of Community Safety for City of York Council, said: “Managing 20 separate orders makes it very difficult to enforce the legislation as police officers have to know the exact boundaries for each order. It also increases the risk of displacement of problems into neighbouring areas.

“Creating one Designated Public Place Order for the whole city gives all police officers the power to seize alcohol where it is associated with crime and anti-social behaviour.

“This legislation is designed purely to address alcohol related nuisance. It does not apply to events or responsible personal consumption of alcohol such as at barbeques and picnics,” she added.

In September last year, a petition was signed by business leaders and taxi drivers to make seven more roads in the city Alcohol Exclusion zones. This included roads such as The Stonebow and the area around The Dutchess nightclub, which were highlighted as an area which had a “massive problem” with outside drinking.

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