Four out of five forecourts in Scotland are in danger of losing their alcohol licences under new legislation. And the ramifications could spread to the rest of the country, retailers have been warned by licensing practitioner Chris Mitchener.

Under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, forecourts will not be able to sell alcohol if they sell fuel or cars. Mitchener, a partner at Licensing Solutions, said: "There were 190 forecourts with licences in Scotland at the end of 2006, and of those I would expect more than 80% will have to work very hard to keep their licences."

He said the only exception was if the "local community is, or is likely to become, reliant on the premises as a principal source of either fuel or groceries." The ’big bang’, or compliance date, is 5am on September 1, 2009.

Mitchener was speaking at the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Forecourt Seminar 2008, held last month in Reading.

Retailers also heard presentations from Gallaher, the National Magazine Company, UKPIA, and Harris International Marketing (Him).