A NEW project is to be launched in Pembrokeshire to tackle the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol.

The county is among 20 areas across England and Wales where Local Alcohol Action Areas are to be set up.

They will see local agencies, including licensing authorities, health bodies and the police, work in partnership with businesses and other organisations to address the harm caused by excessive drinking.

Alcohol-related crime and disorder costs an estimated £11 billion per year in England and Wales, and the government wants to support local communities in reducing the scenes of drunkenness and violence that blight communities.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet member for environmental and regulatory services, Councillor Huw George, said: “The council’s licensing team, the police and health board have established an effective working relationship with the licensing industry and others in Pembrokeshire to lessen the burden of health-related alcohol harm.

“We have been able to do this while still promoting a vibrant and safe night-time economy and we look forward to pursuing this across Pembrokeshire to promote responsible alcohol use.”

Andrew Misell from Alcohol Concern Cymru said: “Alcohol is a big part of social life here in Wales, and across the UK. Sharing drinks with friends can be a great way to relax and socialise, but it’s easy to get into unhealthy drinking habits. Excessive drinking can lead to long term health problems, even after the hangover’s passed. At Alcohol Concern, we’re challenging all of us who drink to think about how much we drink and why, and to make sure we’re in control of our drinking.

“Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery, Alcohol Concern is already working in Fishguard and Goodwick to help local people identify local alcohol issues and come up with their own solutions. We’ll be looking to link that work into this new county-wide Local Alcohol Action Area.”