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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 15:08 GMT
Plastic bottles backed by MPs
Girl drinking beer from a bottle
Bottle neck: More than 15,000 injuries each year involve glass
Welsh MPs want to call time on glass bottles in bars and pubs.

They have signed a motion in the House of Commons calling for glass bottles to be replaced by safer multi-layered plastic ones.

They are backing research by the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, which shows that thousands of fight injuries could be prevented if clubs served drink in plastic bottles.

The man behind the study, plastic surgeon Jon Shepherd, said the MPs' support was another step in the campaign to see Cardiff bars with a high-risk of violence selling only plastic bottles, perhaps within two years.

A total of 18 Welsh MPs have signed the motion put forward by Julie Morgan, Labour MP for Cardiff North.

City centres are littered with glass, particularly bottles, strewn everywhere - anyone looking for a scrap has a weapon readily available
Professor Jon Shepherd

She has tabled a Commons motion calling for improved safety standards, including the marking of pint and half-pint glasses to indicate they conform to manufacturing standards for toughened glass.

It also calls for the police to ban the carrying of glasses and glass bottles in public places and for parts of Cardiff city centre to be glass-free areas.

The MPs said injuries from glasses often involved lasting physical and psychological scarring in young people and a burden to the taxpayer through criminal injury compensation awards.

In October, Prof Shepherd attended a crime reduction conference in Newport which heard that happy hours, alcopops, growing affluence and the British obsession with drunkenness all played a part in soaring rates of binge drinking among young people.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd
Trouble study: Prof Shepherd found link between clubs and injuries

He said a switch to glass would not affect a drink's taste, would allow it to be chilled for longer and the bottles could be recycled just as easily as glass.

He said: "I hope it will accelerate the move towards plastic bottles in nightclubs because there no doubt that that would prevent many thousands of injuries from assaults where glasses and bottles are used as weapons.

"City centres are littered with glass, particularly bottles, strewn everywhere. Anyone looking for a scrap has a weapon readily available.

"This is one item in our campaign to reduce glass-related injury. The next step is local action in Cardiff where plastic bottles is one of the ways forward."

He said the city's crime reduction partnership had already adopted the idea of requiring clubs which showed an increased rate of violence in which bottles are used as weapons to sell bottled alcohol in plastic containers.

"How it will be implemented has yet to be sorted out," he said.

"In two years, we want to see the big clubs where the risk is high moving entirely to plastic bottles."

Pub fights 'cost 4m a year'
19 Mar 03  |  Health
Booze ban for street drinkers
23 May 03  |  North West Wales
1m campaign to cut drunkenness
19 Mar 01  |  Health

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