The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has rejected calls for a Code of Practice for alcohol retailers. Instead it has called for more guidance for local authorities and enforcement agencies to help them use the powers already available to them.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, explained: "The creation of a code would just duplicate existing laws. There is already legislation in place to tackle alcohol retailers who persistently flout the law and sell alcohol to under 18s or to drunks. Rather than create further regulation, which will add a burden on to responsible retailers, local authorities need guidance to use existing legislation to target the small minority of problem premises."

As part of its ongoing National Alcohol Strategy, the government is consulting on what action needs to be taken against alcohol retailers. In the document entitled: Safe, Sensible and Social: Consultation on Further Action, the Department of Health proposes to create either a mandatory Code of Practice or more legislation for alcohol retailers.

The ACS’ argument is that current legislation gives local authorities the power to review, suspend or revoke alcohol licences. Retailers can also be fined up to £10,000 and given a 48-hour closure notice if they are caught repeatedly selling alcohol to children.

? Senior representatives from all the main political parties will speak at the ACS’ inaugural Heart of the Community conference at the Imperial War Museum on November 12.